Poetry / September 2016 (Issue 33)

Flying Tree

by Lo Mei Wa and translated from the Chinese by Henry Wei Leung

Every story has thirty-five birdcages, every tenement has forty stories, every place has five hun-
dred tenements, and the city has many places, so altogether it has many, many birdcages. In the
evenings, the cages are lit: one bowl of light, another bowl, a third bowl. The golden caged lights
of the city are resplendent when seen from ashore. From time to time, flying trees stop by the
windows to see the children within. The cages are very small; when I was little I became so big
that I could no longer move inside. Then one day I opened the cage, opened my hands, and was
picked up by a flying tree. Tonight, I rode back to my old cage on a flying tree, to discover that
all the small birds here have grown into bumble-elephants. They jostle out of their cages, then
cram into elevators.
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