The World of Chinese

Tongcheng City


You can never go back. This ancient city remakes itself day after day. The layered dialects blow smoke with figures from a bygone past.

The stories and sights elude your attempts at descriptio­n. Longmian Mountain’s landscape smudges under the brush like spots of ink as tired as novelties in the eyes of a traveler. Every street you walk is a molting snake. Murky rain drips from the black eaves. You remember the old teachings and tales your grandfathe­r used to repeat. In the past, people turned to books or the fields.

Like all youths, you left thinking this place had nothing for you.

But the lakes and mountains in your dreams are not from foreign lands. You remember the temple hidden deep in the green hills. The roosters crowing outside the village.

The faces of your relatives morph with the years. Hundreds of rivers once ran alongside the Yangtze.

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