Lotus Pond

(For the Chinese artist, Yan-Ping Yang, who loves to paint lotus ponds, but never painted a summer pond since the Tiananmen Square incident in the summer of 89)

She carried nothing
from her China
except rice papers
painted with leaves of lotus
overlooking a pond.

The weight
of memory
stands on the tips
of stems bent
in the wind.

She wakes one morning
to look at the withering
colors in her paintings
gray, brown and bleak:
"where are the colors of my flowers?"

She remembers the lotus pond
in autumn,
the freeze in winter.
Even flowers in summer were battered
by storms or guns.

Not a single bud had the freedom
to blossom...
Not until the roots
were transplanted
to a pond outside a foreign window

which framed the lotus with blood
that flooded
Tiananmen Square
and now the wandering heart
of the one who could only call herself

an internationalist.

1990 New York

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