Published on Academy of American Poets (

My Dissent and My Love Are Woven Inside Me

I commune with the text by way of railing against the text

The molecular processes of you are never finished

I move through air in the early fall, a cooling spittle, high heat
      days are gone

When the troops leave the replica city, you see that its
      battlements are written in green

A Western style of defense, no birds, all men

Same plaza, white stones, black columns, no memory

You want to walk along the path meant for military vehicles
      and are denied

You want to try falling down where others had before you, and
      are unceremoniously denied

You wanted permission to travel to the mainland to see your

All of your desires were completely impractical

That is, you did not want to atone for anything you had done


Copyright © 2015 by Wendy Xu. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 12, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“In Beijing there is an ongoing practice of building replica sites of places like Tiananmen Square for the purposes of ‘rehearsing’ military operations and parades. This poem deals with immigrant guilt and the inherited desire for atonement, forgiveness.”
Wendy Xu


Wendy Xu

Wendy Xu is the author of Phrasis (Fence Books, 2017) and You Are Not Dead (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2013).

Date Published: 2015-11-12

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