Monday, November 7, 2016

White Cloud of Zhengzhou

     The plane descends through thick white smoke that reaches to
     the ground, where jets push through the cloud to pause at gates,
     beyond which guides hold signs with names.  Outside the browned
     glass walls of terminals, exhaust of cabs congeals
     in soup that limits visibility to yards. 
     On the turnpike to the city, commuters vie
     with tractors, plow past fields where sheep engulfed munch grass
     of greyish green.  The town lies hidden from the sky,
     seems post-apocalyptic, victim of some gas
     attack.  Street sweepers wade from islands, breathe through masks    
     while cars dive in and out of view.  The panes of my
     hotel room show no sights except an alley lined
     with motorbikes in front of tiny stores, from which
     I buy some local beers before a rep arrives   
     to take me to an interview.  At suppertime
     the plates of mutton served taste great.  The folks talk straight,
     I mark, without pretense or arrogance, so I’m
     attracted to the job, but later as I watch
     TV, I smell the staleness of the room, observe
     the stains in the upholstery.  My nostrils itch;
     my throat is sore.  Though cells relax, I think about
     my wife and child, with hope for better circumstance.     

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