By Night in Yangzhou – Aiden Heung

I arrive late at a street linked
by red lanterns that have rouged
the wintery night. Houses
with white walls that rise up high
bear down on me with tufted
black eaves; I’ve forgotten

about the last snow, for each step now
brings echoes from every corner,
and every face I meet
is the face I’d like to meet again
in a dream. Or am I

dreaming already? Because the light
that streams down my coat and outlines
my body is held around me, blessed
by a name, Yangzhou.
But I have walked
into this connotation, with a handful
of winds; only the bridge,
slabs of stones, banners
away— twenty-four meters long,
above a river.

The market is about to close;
people disembark into the night.
I’m aware of my intrusion.
Still something burns, a hollow,
like a song I’ve remembered and lost,
like history even,
until, as if no longer bearable,
a star spirals, amid an avalanche
of the moon.

Aiden Heung(He/They) is a Chinese poet born in a Tibetan Autonomous Town, currently living in Shanghai as a salesman. He was a Tongji graduate. His words appeared in The Australian Poetry Journal, The Missouri Review, New York Quarterly, Parentheses, The Columbia Journal, and elsewhere. Find him at twitter @aidenheung

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