Sichuan, May 2008 by Eddie Tay

Picture from here

Sichuan, May 2008
Eddie Tay

What is an earthquake? What makes a flower grow:
children in a school and then houses crumple –

when houses crumple, one cannot be angry
没有欢乐
That man on evening news with the dirty T-shirt,
the camera lingering over a broken Chinese doll on cracked soil –
so many must have said I’m not ready
为什么

Why is this so: a boy trapped under a beam,
his mother lying nearby,
saying I don’t think it’s time
已经晚了

What is an earthquake? What makes a flower grow:
children in a school and then houses crumple –

Why is this so: a man sees his angel
and cries I am under the stones and the stars
我在天堂
救命, 救命
and then falls asleep.

A grandmother under a doorframe
thinks of the potatoes next to her
and worries others may steal them
(but there’re no potatoes).

What is an earthquake? What makes a flower grow:
children in a school and then houses crumple.

“Sichuan, May 2008” was first published in Vol. 9, Autumn 2008 issue of Asia Literary Review. Eddie Tay is Reviews Editor of Cha.
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