Things That Matter Catch Us by Surprise

By Wang Ping


The air trembles with anticipation
Somewhere nearby and faraway
A miracle waits
A laugh, passed from child to child
And the world shakes with the small gesture
In the northern woods
A wolf dreams of his Red Riding Hood
A dog, swollen with puppies
Lies under the bush, its master absorbed
By the news in the morning shade
Somewhere in China, a little peasant girl
Is dreaming of college at twilight
Devouring Shakespeare as she squats
Between bags of rice, soap, pesticide 
I believe every turn I’ve made
Was touched by an angel
Someone somewhere has guided me
Through the tangled paths
Now I’m standing at the confluent of two great rivers
Alone and surrounded by good words
The air vibrates with wonders
Children are coming home
With cards and a copper house for the birds


Wang Ping was born in China and came to USA in 1985. Her publications include American Visa (short stories, 1994), Foreign Devil (novel, 1996), Of Flesh and Spirit (poetry, 1998), The Magic Whip (poetry, 2003), The Last Communist Virgin (stories, 2007), all from Coffee House. New Generation: Poetry from China Today (1999), an anthology she edited and co-translated, is published by Hanging Loose. Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China (2000, University of Minnesota Press) won the Eugene Kayden Award for the Best Book in Humanities. In 2002, Random House published its paperback. She had two photography and multi-media exhibitions—“Behind the Gate: After the Flooding of the Three Gorges” at Janet Fine Art Gallery, Macalester College, 2007, and “All Roads to Lhasa” at Banfill-Lock Cultural Center, 2008. She is the recipient of National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York State Council of the Arts, Minnesota State Arts Board, the Bush Artist Fellowship, Lannan Foundation Fellowship, and the McKnight Artist Fellowship. She is associate professor of English at Macalester College.

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