September 2021

Back to Issue 10

Chengdu – After the Festival

By Les Wicks

Certainty & knowledge are not compatible. 

This city both misses 

& overtakes the point. 


The way forward is a brighter light. 

We are asked  

to mistake the glare for truth. 


One’s eye avoids the cracks 

but I am told there is a fine script there too. 

Even the trees wear a progressive concrete. 


I have been shown a future 

though children still fidget 

& pick their noses. 


We are all done by Sunday afternoon, 

tables cleared, rooms repolished. 

Those with destinations are despatched. 


Down in the backstreets 

a sweeper’s bin is full. 

She sleeps in the amnesty of shade. 


Her split-bamboo broom preens. 

José thinks the air is gasping, 

I think it sighs. 


By the important building 

a sentry, so straight 

he could be plaster. 


Except he yawns. 

I think he dreams 

of riverbanks. 


Dogs discard their leashes. 

There is talk of love again 

& a gwailou’s tears are preposterous.