RUNNING RED

Blood doesn’t drip,
It runs
Like a river of fugitives.

A blanket is music notes,
Warmed and feathered
Until an eight-year old cheek
Can sing its softness
My cheek
As my mother’s lips poured a story
The story of my great-grandmother
In the Cultural Revolution
The officials had raided the house
But it wasn’t enough
So they took needles of sleek bamboo
And pricked her fingers
One by one
It was a common use of torture in those days
Effective
They found the secret stash of opium and jewels

My mother’s lips had become soundless
But I could see the words roll on the blanket

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