Kate Schapira
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Circular Treasure: a theme


To document suffering or to abbreviate it. To alleviate or to stop it. Or stop to see it. Did I step forward with my two smooth arms. What kind? Which ones? How many? Should flinch, but not away. Invisible suffering. Figures for their part become a foregone face. Where to start: just anywhere.

A dirty-faced kid begs, cries, follows in a high thin stream. To go among suffering. Hopscotch of beggars near the forbidden city, papered, crutched, I'll go crazy, take note of them. Along the tree-shaded wall like a tax.

The lens of my eye is clear and smooth for good luck. Or the lens of my eye is scratched, like plastic. To gain fame through the eye the pupil expands its latitude. Is it real? Is it a document? Plotting as early as Xiantao, in the hotel bathroom, how it would go.

Circle the summing up. What exactly could I have handed out, not in my own place, no channels to run in. No changes to ring. Buying baozi on the street, even if I do it comes down. Red bean or something spicy and pickled I don't know how to ask even for the difference. Recognize the number handsigns, hands.

The actual eye displays the manners of leaving. The wrists I have.


Lease: a theme


Take a whole on its terms. The government's refusal to allow private land ownership counts down to the Olympics; an article lists it as two-edged and saving. Take in, be taken for, take home, to build on the difficulty I don't know. Of building, of actual timber I haven't yet seen. Of beam and rebar, laid stone, brick. Before ever entering the courtyard of judgment, leaving me free to assemble there.

Whole neighborhoods are being bulldozed, said the borrowed guidebook. Take this opportunity. An overtone of while they last, these vanishing attractions, these authentic windows. Tour before they're gone. From required to requisition, a short, wheeled trip, from appropriate to appropriation. Pedicab driver flutters his battered map. Having seen us as an opportunity, he addresses us.

Stones having been laid, having lain in place, could become a portrait of a foreigner who's traveled a long way to see them. Who's saved up. Whose judgments have four comers, buildings drifting from exactitude. Dishes stacked behind aqua pane. Color might dilute the sun. Sometimes a plant crams against from inside. The difference between a short discussion and knowledge—to do a subject justice—reserved but not dismantled.