In June

by Ilaria Maria Sala

April came and brought sneezes
Do you remember? The large avenue was lined with poplars
April came and surprised us
The marches started in the night
We looked from the balcony as they walked to the square
In May it rained and the lady at the corner said it was a bad omen
Do you remember? She taught us how to measure cloth to make clothes
In May the square was full of people
I took pictures pivoting on myself
But I could never fit everyone in
In June you were so alive and angry
Do you remember? Black smoke coming up from the square
In June we heard gunshots and the metallic taste of disbelief
You asked me to stay near you
My whole body become a pair of eyes

Ilaria Maria Sala is a writer, journalist and ceramics maker. She is the author of three books in Italian. Her latest volume, Pechino 1989 (Una Città/Alexander Langer Foundation), includes a selection of her photographs from the Tiananmen Square protests. With her first book, Il Dio dell’Asia (The God of Asia, Il Saggiatore, 2006) she won the Bruce Chatwin Award for travel literature. Her writing can be found in Quartz, the New York TimesHong Kong Free Press and various other publications. She has lived in London, Beijing, and Tokyo, and calls Hong Kong home.

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