That Spring By Song Xiaoxian

that spring, there was a terrible drought
no one could stop
the earth from cracking open
and spilling its shrivelled guts

mice jumped out of rice jars
not a single grain was harvested
but so as not to make the higher-ups lose hope
our considerate village headman

sent people out night after night
first to paint the ground grass-green
then to paint it gold

by Mohammed Helal

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