i wen† lef† CC
On Uighur internment in Eastern China
In Xinjiang, hands collect unfelled promises
in government compounds and the wind picks up
dust and leaves from poplars that give
and give. The trees open like an orchestra,
and their branches, fluted ribbons, thrash. A man down
the corridor sews ashes over his body. No one remains
the same. No one predicts how hunger whittles citizens
into dancers. No one knows they only spare the dead.
See: a mother handed her infant son’s corpse. Guards return
another girl to the cell in the cavity of night, her skin
stamped black and black and blue. Electricity: the silk
of muscle and bone, a flowering of fiber optic cable bulging
at the throat. A forest of tiger chairs earth these paper bodies.
They are your brothers and sisters. They are mine. The wind
is picking up speed. Like orchestras, the poplars open.
Esther Sun is a Chinese-American writer from the Silicon Valley in Northern California and 2020 American Voices Nominee. Her poems have been recognized by the National YoungArts Foundation and the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, and they have appeared in Vagabond City, Euphony Journal, Élan, and Blue Marble Review.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.