Issue 9 :: Summer 2007 
Avatar Review

Sam Byfield

First Lightning in a Year

Sky breaks, black clouds skim behind smog. In lieu of language the
taxi driver mimics wind and rain, arms wild, eyes electric. The world
is four walls of white. Gutters spill and shop owners watch the sky,
brooms brushing impromptu rivers from doorways. City lights are
an hour away from perforating everything. Dao le, I say, we have
arrived. Dong yi xia, wait a moment. Four seconds of tumult and
I'm inside, five minutes of stares then more dampness and buffeting
and I'm back in the cab. The city's rhythm slows to the silence
of breaths held between thunder claps. Trees tango, branches split
and I say wo xiang qu Xi Hu, take me to the lake.

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