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After Pandora (Beijing 1995)
by Judy Schoenberg

For days we lived
in the rain;
we were
thousands of drops
from every sea;
tears of joy, sweat of labor
descending from the skies,
stories poured
cheek to cheek, hip to hip and
sometimes eye to eye,
but always looking ahead.

we came for survival.

a woman in India
deserted by her husband
deserted her children and
when there was no one else,
deserted herself.
alone in a house,
when the house fell in,
she followed
now she lives outside herself,
in a trunk, in a box,
squared away.

we have all told that story
and in Beijing where
skin weaves into waves of color,
voices rise in tides of tongues,
we hear echoes of her screams
stirring in the water,
and we open the box
to set her free
hoping for yes
more rain,
more rain
than the last ten days
or ten years have shed;
a cleansing of wrongs uncovers
fertile ground;
behind what hurts is what sings.

- Judy Schoenberg

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