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Thursday, June 04, 2009

4 June 1989

by James Penha

In Tiananmen’s youth
I petted children
who would terrify ancients,
watched them build a bold frailty
with scraps.
Smiles carried me to a tent where Guo confirmed
“You are American?”
He grasped, held tightly
my hand in his
left upon his naked chest.
With the right,
he took a knife
and before I was asked
or needed to think
to speak,
he slashed our index
fingers and they stained his belly,
pants, his toes, my shoes
and he held my hand
until I felt one scab
between us.
“I need to have the blood
of freedom in my veins
before I die.”

Home in Hong Kong
a Saturday later,
I searched on tv
the Square
for the sign of my life.”

James Penha edits The New Verse News.