Opera troupes came to the village
An egg warm in his pocket
my father would run out early
for a good seat. To watch warriors fight.
For the handsprings, backflips.
When maidens sang, he ate,
he waved to his brother.
Upright and bespectacled, his brother
played erhu with the pros.
The lake was made of silk; the moon, too.
Sometimes the swords spun so fast
that in his excitement the egg broke.
His mother strapped him on the legs
and hands, but the next day he did
the same thing.
When all this went away, his own father
Not for choosing the wrong side. Who could?
Not for the famine. Not the flight.
Who could—who could.