People and pigeons gathered at the library steps, waiting for the opening... five till ten, white mist, everyone’s cold. “Jade mist,” Li He would call it. I read those poems for years thinking jade meant green, not white.
Back home in the untended garden, we left R.’s slackline wrapped in the fork of a poplar for a year or so, and scales of bark grew right around the weave. I had to dig it out with shears. Nothing wants to live as much as a poplar.
The door opens, I pass into the bright lemon-walled reading room with all the other bad characters. There’s my friend’s novel on the display shelf with its circular “100 Notable Books of the Year” sticker... someone picks it up, reads the back, sets it down. A lot of the text in this library is in Russian; there’s a flyer for a reading group:
СТИХИ И ПРОЗА
POEMS & VERSES
That’s not right, is it?