I Swallowed an Iron Moon

I swallowed an iron moon

they called it a screw


I swallowed industrial wastewater and unemployment forms

bent over machines, our youth died young


I swallowed labor, I swallowed poverty

swallowed pedestrian bridges, swallowed this rusted-out life


I can’t swallow any more

everything I swallowed roils up in my throat


I spread across my country

a poem of shame


Xu Lizhi