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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 13, Number 1, March 2019
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John Zheng
Itta Bena, Mississippi, USA


Mediation in Changsha, China

Assured by the vendor that the watermelons were all ripe and sweet, a middle-aged man picked one from the wagon, rolled it around to check if it had a ripe yellow color and a dried brown stem. Hesitant for a while, he put it back and chose another melon. He knocked at it and pressed his thumb at it for a soft fizz. Then he asked the vendor to cut out a small triangular wedge for him to taste.

sticky summer
cicadas buzz
here and there—
candidates on tv
market their dreams

It was not sweet; the man frowned. The vendor winced and then piled up a smile: "You can’t judge the melon from a small wedge." Refusing to buy, the man called the police for mediation. A cop showed up. After listening to both sides, he paid for the watermelon and brought it back to the police station. He sliced the melon to share it with other officers. None of them wanted a second bite.

summer sunset
its red shine slants
through the window
melon juice
spilled on the table

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