Far away, always far away. Your hometown—you’ll use your whole life but you can’t reach it. Clouds flow with water; you surrender all longing to the sky.

Soil floats in the air above the earth, just like a mother’s love is left behind. There is nothing back home but ash lightly fluttering on the ruins. You no longer look into the distance. What comes from home is always worse than you expect.

Good wishes are as precious as water—hand them to the one you love beside you.

* * *

“Afar” is the first of three new poems by Yi Ping written on the occasion of Ithaca City of Asylum’s fifteenth anniversary.

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