a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
though each new year brought in new waves
of birds that flew past the old stupa,
whose gilded gold had begun to peel.
Where the river bent towards the ravine,
a bridge, suspended like silence
at a grave conversation.
Some nights, when the last lamp
was killed, the unpredictable moon
betrayed some white, and some grey
owls hooted; afterwards everything paled,
like dust on paper.
I was elsewhere, far
from the plateau; I couldn’t tell
why these mountains had looped
to cut me off. That night I closed my eyes,
imagining a highland night above this city,
until the first sunlight fell
punctually to the boom of my clock,
and I woke up, and I woke up
lost for what I had given up.
from which dust blew into the village,
like locusts chasing invisible tissues
of plants; It was a summer day, air
sunk its teeth into his face which turned
red, then swarthy, like fertile soil,
like fertile soil we took for granted
at each harvest season.
I clung to the door and watched a rainbow
burnt onto the water curtain at his sprinkler
as the sun swam past our roof.
I was eager to grow up, to be like him,
to conjure seven colors with bare hands;
I didn’t know there were things better
to stay in time, un-policed by memory.
But I’m not a hierophant to the past,
I can’t look into my face and imagine
the lost, fierce as love but heavier,
registered in every cell of my body,
like this world receding into winter,
leaving a handful of warmth on my skin.
Aiden Heung (he/they) is a Chinese poet born in a Tibetan Autonomous Town, currently living in Shanghai. He holds an MA from Tongji University. His words appeared or are forthcoming in The Australian Poetry Journal, The Missouri Review, New York Quarterly, Poet Lore, Parentheses, and The Columbia Journal, among other places.