Poetry / December 2014 (Issue 26)

Li Po in Exile

by Bob Bradshaw

Every farmer fears the tax collector
more than drought,
taxes like a river in flood,
a relentless grab for land.

Worse is the grab for new recruits.
No one is safe.
That is why the moon hides behind a peak,
wearing dark clothing
as if afraid of being pulled
into the Emperor's army

like so many boys
from the surrounding farms.

Tonight I want only to think
of my kids, Ping-yang and Po-chin,
pulling peaches from a tree
that we planted together
three long years
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