I no longer knew Xinyu, and her red boots

Reclining Nude (Red Nude) 1956 William Scott 1913-1989 Purchased 1965 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T00811

Reclining Nude by William Scott (Oil paint on canvas).jpg

two girls were born last night
I helped them put on red underpants right
away, I dressed one in red boots
before she could even walk
the girls ran around the yard:
Come find us! so
we sang a little
song while circling the lychee tree,
but not everyone recognized the song

she wore that pair of red boots only
I have red cowboy boots
flaunting to the neighbor’s kids
the muds couldn’t fall off the soles
some girl spread the word
that Xinyu’s red boots were buddies with feces
a jealous girl, must be she
was from the Blue Water village

our house was in the Red Temple village,
just the toddlers and the wheelchairs
one time there was, the house
was packed with grown-ups
Are they your children?
I forgot to answer her question,
while standing next to the slaughterhouse
her grandpa always took care of the cleaning procedure
I made tea and Niú Zhā Táng, but the French
call it Nougat

Grandma, grandma!
my mind drifted off when Xinyu asked me the question,
sometimes that happened, not because of her question
certainly not. I told her yes, and continued to observe
my daughter-in-law, and her leather jacket
the black leather jacket
How come they call you auntie instead of mom?
I shushed her, straightaway
that was no question to ask, never

Xinyu used to call her mom, the lady on television
whose job was to communicate
words from the party to us:
Anarchy does not work in human beings’ reproductive process
but only until her real mother came, my daughter-in-law
always in leather jacket, or military uniform,
unwomanly did she behave, who came to pick her up
I saw, her, taking Xinyu away, running very fast towards the buildings
I lost her… together with the other twelve children, and grandchildren

Five children were born
the first twenty years, one died
followed by the second,
twenty years

I have a pair of glasses, and I read anything:
my grandchildren’s comic books
the back-cover of the snackbar boxes
and the newspapers
there was very little to read forty years ago
therefore a lot easier to remember ——

Revolutionary, regions and State
State to on Family of Association
Ministry the and Fuel I to hope
carefully is beings anarchist
There be an Chairman many Comrades must
populated other must this in-depth
late planning actions in areas to
fourth significant within

she never listened to me
at this moment, two is can and must
but she doesn’t care, Xinyu’s mother
who dragged my hair and pulled me to the wall
quality not quantity
nonsensical speeches
her modernity fails in

I finished cooking gizzard for Xinyu
she changed her tastes after twenty years of urbanization
less oil, less sault, less spicy
I watched her eat the food, drink the soup and leave the table
but her iphone was on
I glimpsed at the title of the article that she was reading:
Raising Fertility: A New Task for China’s Population Development in the New Era

I will dream about them
men and women, under the age of 40
lining up to pay
pay, pay, pay,
for their maternity fund
the self-operation of the two-child birth subsidy

the line craws next to me
there I see
a small girl comes up to me
black hair, double tail, pink hairing
she drags my coat, and cries
don’t let me go…
I won’t!
please don’t throw her red cowboy boots away
please don’t throw away her red cowboy boots


Artwork by William Scott “Reclining Nude”