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Come back or leave forever don't stand like that at the door

like a statue made of stone

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discussing everything between us

with a look that expects no answer

in fact what is hard to imagine

is not darkness but dawn

how long will the lamplight last

perhaps a comet may appear

trailing debris from the ruins

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and a list of failures

letting them glitter, burn up and turn into ash

come back, and we'll rebuild our home

or leave forever, like a comet

sparkling and cold like frost

discarding the dark, and sinking back into darkness again

going through the white corridor connecting two evenings

in the valley where echoes arise on all sides

you sing alone

"Comet" from "The August Sleepwalker," copyright 1988, "A Picture" from "Old Snow" (a forthcoming collection), copyright 1991, by Bei Dao. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation, New York.

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