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Three Nights in Shanghai
by Aurora Antonovic

Shanghai’s fog
crawled thick and heavy in my nostrils,
weighed down my lungs,
threatened to smother me with affection;

I watched in fascination
as soot snowed before buildings
we were forbidden to photograph,
Wrote my name in ashes
that coated the furniture every morning;

Meals of shark fin soup,
snake, crab, and pork jaw,
Stole five pounds from me
and refused to give them back
until I arrived home.

Shanghai begged me not to leave,
threw red satin about my shoulders,
hand-painted silk scarves
around my neck in penitence,
Pleading with me it would all be different
were I only to come back again.

previously published in Adagio Verse Quarterly




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