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POETRY The Mountains are High and the Emperor is Far Away The orange costs five mao, the Coke’s one kuai. Postcards, Little Red Book, souvenirs of your climb up Moon Hill? You’re tired. Please sit. Eat more, eat more! Yes, every day I haul this stuff up here to the peakalone, since Chao died. I don’t mind hard work. Always a farmer first when our family farmed the landlord’s fields, then, after Liberation, on collectives. We didn’t starve, even in hard times with nothing to eat but sweet-potato stalks. Later, our own plot. But when they made us sell our vegetables on the free market, we couldn’t earn enough. No sons to help us, and brother had died fighting in Korea, killed by the Am …fighting in Korea. Youyou’re Russian, are you? Oh. The beard. Once, the only foreigners we saw were Russian men. They all had beards. But now people come from all countries to Moon Hill! And I feed them while they enjoy the view. Another orange? Will you sign my book? Do you have children? How much do you make? Baby Love So loud it shatters my sleep, my time, icy night or summer noon into shards tinier than half-erupted teeth. So straight it pisses right in my eye, so urgent it doesn’t care what it eats as long as it’s now. So sure it refuses to hide itself in clothes or words. The Trees Greet the Rain You were gone so long the soil shrank back from our trunks. Many of us fell, our roots having nothing to hold on to. Finding no water, our taproots struggled down until they tasted damp at the planet’s molten core. You have come back, as you said you would. We need you no longer. We fear neither termite nor chainsaw.We have drunk something immortal, the Earth told us, and we hdve a new name: Iron.You can come or go as you will. What can you do to us? Bruce Tindall race Tindall is a North Carolinian, currently living in Dallas. He left.the softWare industry after 20 years to be a stay-at-home father. His poems have appeared in Plainsongs, Poem, New Delta Review, Cumberland Poetry Review, and elsewhere. Naomi Shihab Nye 9/28/01 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15