Walking through streets of Nanjing
Lanterns speckled by the carbon dust and debris,
Sweet, like the honey Nai Nai keeps
Soaked in osmanthus petals.
The vendor blows molten sugar,
Curling it into thousands of fine strands
Which cling to the next like blades of wet grass
Trying to fumigate the air
As the vendor shapes the sugar in his hands
The blades take the form of bars
And bars to birds, and
Birds to wings that cannot fly
And I see
A sugared prison bird
An imprisoned mind
Stuck in the sick, viscous honey of memory,
Sliding through white and grey matter,
folds of the brain.
Soon it will pass.
Soon it will be free.
But after one hour, two hours, days
Of anxious tapping and ripping feathers out,
Of panic attacks and faltered breathing,
The sugar glass cage shatters and
There it is
Flying through streets of Nanjing lanterns
But this time,
The air is black.