Fall/Winter 2013



My twin brother is gone
who used to sing aloud
ancient Chinese poems
his sonorous  voice
striking plucking
the strings of moonbeams

My twin brother is gone
who used to stand alone
in the stubby wheat field
envisioning all humans 
emerging from the peak 
of flesh and desires

My twin brother is gone
who used to remember our father
sitting on the handle of his hoe
in the shadow of a willow
his bamboo pipe extending
from his thick lips
to the edge of a ditch
muffled memories channeling
through puffs of smoke

My twin is gone
who used to recall our mother
seated in the warm kitchen
telling tales with her chapped
wrinkled hands
webbing weaving hardships
sufferings into jumpers
for us to huddle in

My twin brother is gone
who committed suicide
leaving a note in his coat
saying his death has nothing 
to do with anyone or anything
in this country
or in this history

My brother is gone
now I am still alive
like a pair of chopsticks
with one missing
like a pair of glasses
with one cracked
like a pair of compasses
with one broken

My twin brother is gone
and I have to live on
like my grandmother
when her sister was raped
then cut open
by a Japanese soldier

My twin brother is gone
and I have to live on
like my grandfather
when his brother was shot
while both uniformed
were lying in an ambush
against the Japanese army

My twin brother is gone
I must survive like my mother
when her brother 
was flogged to death
in the Cultural Revolution

My twin brother is gone
I must survive like my father
when his sister
was starved to death
in the Great Leap Forward

My twin brother is gone
and I am to live on
as a single trouser leg
or a single sleeve
to exhibit to my children
what has been
what was and what is
in this quasi-world

Chao is a bi-lingual poet, Bible scholar and professor of Modern American poetry at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou, China. He has been writer-in-residence at Edith Cowan University, University of Melbourne and University of Sidney, and a visiting scholar at University of Westminster and London School of Theology. He was anthologized as one of Twenty Contemporary Australian Writers by The Cimarron Review in USA in 1997 and has published five collections of poetry.



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