The Year of the Monkey, by Laura Merleau

You told me in
French I was
bleeding you

were wrong until
the next day when
the Chinese New

Year began outside
Guangzhou all red
with lucky money

envelopes hanging
from orange blossom
trees, children

twirling long ribbons
up and down the
City of Flowers’ streets

inside, my body knows
you still listen to it
by these fluids

moving on their wild
journeys – from your
commands in French

telling me to forget,
to your shimmering
impossible angles we

make the ascent
together climbing
up into the tower

of red flowers – for
weeks the Chinese
men scaffolded them

into a column of good
fortune wishes for all
who come to ask for

money or love
and here you are
against the cityscape

of geometrically-lit
skyscrapers singing
the pulse of cycles

turning messages
into hopes for me
to read in the dark

***

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Laura Merleau is an American living in Guangzhou, China, where she teaches high school English.  She received her doctoral degree in American Literature from the University of Kansas in 2000.  Her poetry has appeared in Sweet, Barking Sycamores, and Apple Valley Review.  In her spare time, she does yoga and paints.

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