Poetry / December 2017 (Issue 38)

Liu Xiaobo Has Left China

by Susan Lavender

Adam's rib: she remained part of him,
To the last, even when the light was so dim.
She held up more than half his sky
Without a sigh.
Matching hearts and minds, even her name fits in his, it's plain to see:
They were perfect symmetry.

Twin faces mirrored each other in a single love,
When at the final hour,
From up above,
Came a Greater Power.
It cut your reins
That held him tight.
It slashed your chains
Of bloodless murder, as he continued to fight.
It ended his pains
And so, despite you, he set sail.
You could not prevail.
You see, you are not supreme.
That's just your dream.
You couldn't stop him leaving
Though you keep his widow grieving.

"After I'm dead
Don't go down", to her he said.
You ground to powder his body
But his ashes still embrace his 蝦米.
You scattered them at sea,
But from there they flow to the world that's free.
Why can't his little shrimp swim there?
She's caught in a net. Is that fair?

Wherever there's water or an empty chair
He'll be remembered there,
Because we, as one humanity, continue to care.
Your false video recording
Won't stop history through the world wide web awarding
Praise to his name
Together with your shame.
It can't prevent on-line waves magnifying
His image as yours is dying.

But in every rosy sunrise and sunset that bears her name
We'll remember her too,
Each morning and evening the same,
You can't hide her from view,
For now we see her in his empty chair.
Now he lives within her - the inseparable pair.
Now it's reverse symmetry
But we continue to ask: WHERE IS SHE?
We will never be silent
Just always peacefully defiant.

Liu Xiaobo has left China
But not Liu Xia
Now he's free
But not she.
Editors' Note:
Susan Lavender performed this poem at
PEN Hong Kong's reading on human rights
in September 2017.
Website © Cha: An Asian Literary Journal 2007-2018
ISSN 1999-5032
All poems, stories and other contributions copyright to their respective authors unless otherwise noted.