On the midnight of Spring Festival, the streets smelled like war. I was six. Taken out unwillingly to the frigid community park, leaving behind the family feast of steaming dumplings stuffed with garlic chives and scrambled eggs. There were other groups scattered about in darkness for the same sketch: either my uncle or my father spread the firecracker roll out on a barren flowerbed. The other laughed and lit the fuse with a match or half-smoked cigarette, then sprang back, covering his ears. I was frightened, hid ten meters away behind a discreetly parked car.                    Deafening noise erupted—like rain on metal at first, then a waterfall coming directly from space. Its light so dazzling, the bleak branches’ shadow could only shiver against a whitewashed wall. I looked down and saw snow, mixed with auspicious black powder and remains of red straw paper. Everywhere people relished kicking over buckets of thunderbolts. Everyone tasted the joyous supernovas of the New Year. I wanted to scream, but my voice would just freeze like the icicle hanging from a blind roof. That was how I remembered my homeland. That is my impression of it still.

Q.M. is from China and currently lives in Atlanta, GA. His poems have appeared in Constellations, Lucky Jefferson, Penultimate Peanut, Rigorous, and Roadrunner Review, among others.