The Augsburg poet once said he had tacked
an image of the Man of Doubt
to the wall of his room. A Chinese print.
The image asked: how ought one to act?
I have a photo on my wall. Twenty years ago
seven Chinese workers looked into my lens.
They look wary or ironic or tense.
They know I do not write for them. I know
they didn’t live for me. Yet sometimes I feel
I’m being asked for more candid words,
more credible deeds, by their doubtfulness.
In turn I ask their help in making visible
the contradictions and identities among us.
If there’s a point, it’s this.