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Wei Tai Ting-II




People rarely drown

in quicksand, though


that does not make

it any easier to escape.


The soil, liquefied, loses

strength, unable to bear


an individual’s weight,

much less ground


the pointed ambition

of a hefty skyscraper.


Even the most intrepid

are sucked into its warm,


mucky grip. Do not panic.

Or move fast. For you


will only sink deeper.

The right way to leave


is not defiance, exerting

a force straight against


the earth. A slow insidious shudder

to the side, supine, better


suits the sand. Recall

the basic rule of math:


parallel lines never

intersect. Think of this


as your back lies, tensed

on this liminal membrane,


neither liquid nor solid. Sense

relief at your deft manoeuvres


but pity the water, trapped

between the layers. To escape


one must turn insubstantial,

rise to skies as thin vapour.



But beware clusters,

or clouds will form,


aiming intentions downwards

to the tender quicksand of home.