Monday, June 9, 2008

The death of sparrows

From a couple weeks back... I'll spare you pictures.


They say China’s growing.
In the age of aspiration growth is driven by the young
who have reason to grow, and so it is,
young ideas and young faces
capering on billboards and winking from the walls
of a young subway whose skin shines
in its youth. You measure growth
by the shrinking horizon, the skyscrapers
leaping off the charts, the varicolored oxides
commixing with clumps of air you can roll on your tongue
and savor like popsicles or Nestle drumsticks.
You can see it if you squint a future
reshaping the ground we walk, the air we breathe.

But I measure it by the broken bodies
of tiny sparrows on my doorstep,
plucked from their nests because
someone somewhere
had the bright idea that slanted rooftops were more
aesthetic, Western, mei
like the country, beautiful,
and so
scoop goes a nest
hurling down,
scoop goes baby bird
learning to fly,
scoop, down below,
and splat on the venerable cement
bending to caress these headlong divers
but not enough, you dumb old thing,
not softly enough.

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