China III

It is too much a part of things,
even though the source is not within.
In small American cities
with and without universities,
it keeps a constant presence
in the Confucian sense,
the inner arriving to match
the outer, spirit not separate
from matter (the latter illusion
left by the missions
the people have made such fine
use of). There are times
when you have to pretend
to embrace an idea or befriend
your adversaries. If constantly
misinterpreted, use the mystery
as currency. You have to start
somewhere. Be wise: depart
from where they’ve already put you.
A country itself can’t betray you.

Adrienne  Su, "China III" from Sanctuary. Copyright © 2006 by Adrienne Su.  Reprinted by permission of Manic D Press.
Source: Sanctuary (Manic D Press, 2006)
More Poems by Adrienne Su