in memoriam 刘晓波

They say it’s always darkest before dawn,
and I say this sheds light on memory
and time. The difference between
dawn and what was before is greater than
the difference between dawn and what follows.

Time ripples like water, and every wave
circles back from shore to shore. What was is
present with what will be now and then.
Light seems blinding when it is nothing but
a new day, and every dawn traces an epiphany
in that moment between night and night. They
say men loved darkness rather than light, and I say
power is as fragile as the grip of a survivor
clinging to whatever is afloat when
a wave rises after a shipwreck, fragile
as perfect fear throwing love overboard
as though the sacrifice would soothe
whatever angry god has made this storm.

Tom was right. Fearful men clinging
to the remnants of a ship that sunk some time
ago will find a daughter or a son to kill in the name
of order. Men of reason will say this is the cost of doing
business, war by other means. Engineers may kill a wave
for now and push an ocean back a while. But they are nothing
without the water rising beneath them, sure as dawn.

©Steven Schroeder

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