Lantern Festival, Qining, 1928.

With ribbons in her hair,
Quan went out to view the lights
and commemorate the dead.

In the cold, she called to a boy
whose face was a flame
in a bakery window.

They whispered together
a blasphemy, a dare:
we shall ride on yellow dragons
past the river.

Later she drew pictures
on peach-colored paper
while her mother spoke
of Chiang Kai-Shek.

The world was far from them,
but the lanterns swung
like faces and the dumplings

on the table steamed.
Each imagined love, each
the road, which ended at Lanzhou.

by Carl Boon


  1. "like faces and the dumplings, on the table steamed"--yes, fine imagery and effective simile--well worded wistful piece--my family was in China at that time, though my mother was only a child, 3; her uncle knew the great General you reference and in fact had many dealings (both friendly and confrontational/duplicitous) with Kai-Shek's right hand man, General Yang Sen--congrats on having your poem selected for the monthly--nicely done


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