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This poem is taken from PN Review 83, Volume 18 Number 3, January - February 1992.

Three Poems Alison Brackenbury

A CHINESE WEDDING

A Chinese wedding! On the muddy floor
Of the Peach Orchard Restaurant, the guests, in grey
Winter overcoats stood waiting for
'The bride, Mrs Alison. She is coming,' cried our guide
Who alarmed me, with her hunched good coat,
Her husband, the dark editor. Outside
Snake firecrackers woke the streets with smoke.

The bride towered fire-red: the fabled bird
Which rises from the ash; or as the smoke
Faded, in rich skirts, a scared slim girl.
'She works in the station,' Mrs Zhe declared.
Had I seen her, trousers baggy at the knees
In the dingy panelled waiting rooms
Left, still for Soft Class, by the Japanese?

In her rough book I scrawled 'Congratulations,'
...


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