Looking at the names of sketching strokes
in Chinese art, I see the country:
Ancient wavy silk thread
Moving cloud and flowing water
Alone on the bamboo bridge
hunched over from the weight of her pack,
an old woman layered in rags
wails her story to the trees.
Behind the dense green curtain of bamboo
her audience listens:
fifty thousand stone Buddhas,
donors, and Bodhisattvas,
carved one thousand years ago.
For a moment I leave Dazu thinking
of the opera house back home.