Journalism In Verse

tiananmen-square-front

Expectation

in Asia/World by
Twilight. No breeze. Humidity
condenses on my wine glass.
Air thickens, too, around the porch
as trees stand silent, waiting.
I sit alone, aware of news
and non-news, much the heavier load.
 
One friend is heavy with her own
expectancy at forty weeks:
knowing the what, but not the how,
the undeniable breaking forth,
intangible amid the crude
accessories of flesh and steel.
 
Another waits for test results
on a child who’s ached and burned
since last year’s tropic holiday.
Others sit vigil with the dying,
or with themselves, awaiting not
the sudden severing of light,
but more mundane catastrophes:
the cane, the dentures, hearing aids.
 
Thirty years ago tonight
and seven thousand miles away,
an army waited for the sign
to roll the tanks into the square.
What broke forth in Tiananmen
remains for history to tell
in whispers between videos,
the unofficial memories.
 
But here I sit, expecting only
mosquitoes with their thirsty mouths,
flutter of bats, and fireflies
that surely will light up the woods
beyond the windows’ certain glare.

 

________

Jennifer Davis Michael is professor and chair of English at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. Her chapbook, Let Me Let Go, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.

________

30 years since Tiananmen Square changed China as we know it
[WBUR]

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