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Li Hua's Messenger

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In a hut far from the village
Li Hua bends over his canvas
like an insect.

He is so deliberate,
each stroke is a spider's legs
fighting the current.

There is a war in his veins,
a battle of desires.
He is jealous of Li Po
whose pictures glide
like the moon over dark water.

I do not wish
to disturb him
as he tries to make art
in this time of death,

so I will wait,
like a fly on the tip of a stick,
until he is finished.

Source: Poetry

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This poem originally appeared in the March 2001 issue of Poetry magazine

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Li Hua's Messenger

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