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  You could have a big dipper   

As We Watch Things Burn by Yixuan Wu

CW: Graphic violence

Let us gaze at the dawn

that charred a desert in the sky,

watch as the rising sun bleeds

into the horizon, dyeing the Yangtze

in its scarlet hues.

We saw streams of men in yellow

uniforms braid into the rubbles

of Nanking, singing their

traditional swings as a passing tank

ruptured through Zhongshan Road.

An early December snow drizzled down,

wrinkling into the what’s left of hellfire.

Through our vision, we shudder

as the men arrive and lineup in succession

in the field outside.

Japanese for 5 yen.

Chinese and Korean for 2 yen.

And we were curled on our

backs on a wooden bench, like

how a woman would give

birth, naked legs forking out the

measure of an angel’s snapped wings.

We have parted, and the repeated

creaking of the bench became our

new prayer for our benevolent

John Rabe.


Yixuan Wu is a Chinese national who currently lives in the Philippines. His works have appeared on The Rising Phoenix Review and One Art Poetry. He hopes to spread awareness of Chinese heritage and culture through his poems.

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