"The Past" Contest Winners / September 2012 (Issue 18)

The Seamstress' Goodbye to Liu

by Andrew Barker

          –From Da Sijie’s Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

Andrew Barker You took me, stood beneath that gingko tree.
I laughed, a new bright future would begin.
You made a promise, I would never be
A simple, peasant mountain-girl again.

Once charmed our second toes' lengths were the same,
The size of what we want from life conflicts.
The credit that you took for what you’d made?
Remember who got you to steal those books.

My beauty is a treasure beyond price,
The only asset I have in the end;
And what I’ve learnt has made me realize
This hell from which a phoenix must descend.

          Whatever I find in that city there,
          Cannot be worse than what's left for me here.
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