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January 2018, vol 13 no 4

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John Zheng


I was enjoying an escape in the Smoky Mountains when a friend texted me about your death, with a picture of you, me and Hua taken forty years ago. I didn’t believe it, feeling it was an April Fool’s Day message. To my utter surprise, I was quite calm; maybe I pretended. I slid open the screen door and stepped out onto the balcony. The morning sky was getting dark; the mountain ranges had turned into gray clouds rolling, thickening and piling all together. Then torrents of rain, thunder, and lightning. It was my mourning chorus for you. I sat down silently in a folding chair, but my memory cranked up and swerved onto a mountain road winding up and down into that picture, into our college years graced with innocent smiles.

October dusk
in the toll of church bells
falling leaves