OUT­SIDE THE EM­BASSY

BOMB Magazine - - ARTHUR SOLWAY -

They are stat­ues side by side. The young guards, el­e­vated slightly, to sug­gest who’s in charge.

The one with the ri­fle and bay­o­net could give any­one pause who might think oth­er­wise,

with the sheen of a twelve-inch blade and its un­com­pro­mis­ing glare par­a­lyzed un­der a fierce Au­gust sun.

The ci­cadas throt­tle the air, chant­ing their sum­mer war song to sur­vive. Plane trees and yel­low cin­na­mon

pro­vide barely enough shade. No re­lief for the lone­some uni­forms as the novice diplo­mats dis­miss

the dis­grun­tled for­eign­ers who ar­rive too late to con­duct their ba­nal and un­worldly busi­ness.

Arthur Sol­way is the found­ing di­rec­tor of James Co­han Gallery Shang­hai, the first gallery from New York to es­tab­lish it­self in main­land China. He has also writ­ten po­etry and es­says, con­tribut­ing to literary and cul­tural publi­ca­tions since 1978. Most re­cently his po­ems have ap­peared, or are forth­com­ing, in The An­ti­och Re­view, Bos­ton Re­view, and Salma­gundi. Shang­hai has been his home since 2007.

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