Our eyes are two dry wells

Eyes — these two dry wells
Deep in the puzzled gazes there
once fertile ground is hidden
The seedlings of love were
burned out through the fire of tears
We live on the other side of grief

Over the high wall, we watch
the sun from afar and
the mountains from afar
In the dreams of nights, we see
people from afar

Using the net of yearning we salvage
those scattered memories and then we let
the bones grow into the bones.

— Li Bifeng

In 1989, dissident poet Li Bifeng was sentenced to five years in prison for participating in the Tiananmen Square democracy movement. After his release in 1994, he became a labor rights activist. He was arrested in again in 1998 and sentenced to seven years in prison. He was arrested again in 2011 and given 12 years in prison for “contract fraud.” He is currently in Chuanbei Prison in Sichuan province.

[Research note: “Chinese poet Li Bifeng jailed for 12 years,” Guardian (November 19, 2012).]

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