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Suffocating City Square

       Beijing, 6/6/1992
       Third anniversary offering for 6/4

This city square the largest in the world
filled to the brink with crowds and cheers
in a blink liquid
mercury flash of fleeing
Now only fear
and an empty expanse remain
Against the ash-white pallor of the martyrs
dawn light dances on steel helmets
Those whom God judges
pass through certain windows
admire daybreak in a cup
that overflows with a bruise-colored liquid

The courage that infuses the man in the city square
infuses the solar system with each stride
Embers burn to daybreak
become the dim warmth of a word
bitter green fruit
ripening in death
A dedication to
the woman who needs no rose
her voice lights up the inferno
facing the vicious roar of a tank
standing unmoving
waving a weakened arm as if
opening a red umbrella on a gray rainy day

In a blink she collapses
empty expanse in four directions
Whose carelessly tossed paper scraps
fall onto her lifted chest
rise up again with a gust of wind
shroud a slender pair of arms
Even if she's never read the Holy Scriptures
God shouldn't abandon her to
the heaps of garbage along the road
wisps of long hair float into
a boy's dream, shouldn't
allow this bloodbath-fastness

If it was a different spring
she would walk across this city square
hand in hand with her boyfriend
She wouldn't have become
a random insect crushed underfoot
at this moment, her bloodless lips
the stunned moth-grubs underground
they hesitantly stretch out their pincers
but only grasp the stench of blood

This death-hollowed city square
for the sake of absolute power
suffocates all life
This death-cast girl
has become a line of pure poetry
that surrenders all ideograms

Liu Xiaobo

June Fourth Elegies
Graywolf Press

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