Daytona State College

Guilty as Sino - Yafeng Lin

It’s wintertime in spring semester 

in my community college. 

I attend school every day,  

partly. 

I love the classes,  

partly.  

I think I am part of the community, 

partly. 

I want to reach out to a bigger world, to a better future 

beyond Xiafei Street in Shanghai. 

We watch videos about how humans ruined the environment: 

greedy Chinese crazy for ivory and  

slaughtering the African jungle. 

Elephant babies lay with their mothers 

on the blood-soaked ground. 

I was crying inside  

silently, 

Shame on you, my people. 

My first in class speech is about the 2019 coronavirus, 

which broke out in Wuhan. 

11 million people locked down and 

quarantined. 

The death toll climbs, 

like vines in the jungle. 

Li Wenliang, 

one of the eight whistleblowers. 

Summoned by the policemen. 

Shushed by the governors. 

Killed by the virus,  

in the dark. 

Oil is boiling, 

but it doesn’t matter, 

since there is no truth. 

You couldn’t tell who is the liar. 

The room filled with accusers, 

but no judges or defendants appeared. 

Big brother twitched his lips and smiled, 

with his fat fingers pointed out toward the crowd. 

All his faithful dogs grinded their teeth 

and barked fiercely loud. 

Sorry to you, my people. 

My final project is about  

American butchery and diet habits. 

I pretend there is nothing happening in the world I left behind. 

I sit in front of my computer, by myself, 

crying and trembling like  

an  

abandoned  

baby elephant. 

There is a man who looks like one of my brothers. 

Jumped off a bridge,  

landed like big black bat, 

because he is a virus carrier. 

He is a husband. 

He is a father. 

He is somebody’s son. 

He had no place to go for help, 

and he couldn’t go to those people he loved 

to ask for comfort either. 

So, he chose to evacuate the virus  

out of his body, with his blood. 

Now, he is a cold number, 

buried among the other numbers.  

His ashes hidden deep under the ground, 

among other ashes. 

I am freezing cold. 

I am a guilty Chinese escapee, 

Who jumped 

 off  

 the 

bridge 

to America. 

Forgive me, my people.