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Can Xue

Dust

Dust

We are dust in the wind. In the wind, our dance is disordered. We dance as randomly as we want. When the wind pauses, we scatter as we will onto the rooftops, onto the windowsills and balconies, into the flowerbeds, onto the roads, on the heads of the passersby and on their clothing. Sometimes we cluster and sometimes disperse, sometimes solidify into coarse flecks and sometimes turn into powder, without conforming to any law. Yet I, being a single particle of dust, have a secret: I know that every speck among us believes itself to be a flower. How strange that I seem to have known this secret ever since I entered the world. Why do they think they’re flowers? Such wild presumption. Everyone knows that dust can’t compare to flowers. Flowers are alive, they have beautiful contours.

Tonight the wind is blowing from the north. Our collective of dust twitches in the dark wind, one part condensing into a whip and beating the leaves of the trees while another large part changes into a mushroom cloud rising to the sky. The little girl behind the windowpane holds back her tears. We call out to her, silently: “We are flowers! We are flowers!”

The city is dust’s proper home. We have never left the city. We enjoy sticking to the windshields in a thick coating, infuriating the drivers. This is no prank, but rather a means of communication. I often wonder, does the city make us cherish this dream that we are flowers, or are we actually flowers after all? The drivers don’t believe we are. They roughly sweep us away with the wiper fluid so that we run down onto the concrete, then slide into the sewer. But, after a few days, we become dust in the wind again. We sweep across the city. We are everywhere, but we never stay for very long.

 

To read the entirety of "Dust," purchase your copy of Music & Literature no. 5 . . .