Jiangxi Citizens See Floating City, Phenomenon Caused by Refracted Light
Aaron Brown (bio)


     They pour out into the streets by the thousands, cars parked quiet like upturned faces—
clouds billowing colossal Olympus spume

and from their shadows


     the dark fortress of a city hovers heavenward and broods for minutes in refracted light,

a masterpiece matching Miyazaki.


     The vision dulls Jiangxi conversation, observers look silent in wonderment,

think to themselves the light will break through, revealing a lie


but still the clouds hold.


     A man youthful like me

gazes up and places belief in the portal opening up before him:

highways heaving from some limitless expanse between buildings scraping sky


     clean of bluish hue and space darkness lurking beyond—


If only a ladder tall enough,

a pilot brave enough.


     What he sees solidifies: floating city becoming mountain rock.

His eyes make the journey to the small square window he knows too well


[Building #32]


     on the town’s west side where rose petals blossom just as they did this morning

when he left for work, light shafts dancing around single stem.


     In tempest current, the flower lets loose a single leaf lifeless along the jet stream,

pitching it to and fro, pale rimmed-rose dipping

and falling.


     He utters a prayer—

                                   the petal fading in and out of cloud before it breaks

moisture’s undercarriage, careening all directions and down


     the last few thousand feet to the dirt that seeded it.

He watches it fall the long way to earth.


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