The Autobiography of a Collector
I am willing to be this kind of collector:
a collector of cracked and unrepairable photographs;
a collector of embers that cannot be extinguished in the dead of the night,
saving them for the coldest tomorrow to light a fire for warmth;
a collector of cries of the missing who dared not voice their grief,
that perhaps therein I might find evidence of a previous life;
a collector of secrets that cannot be spoken, that are without solace,
that passing through the abyss of humanity might be a path to salvation.
But I am not willing to collect stupidity,
those who persistently reject wisdom,
that smug stupidity that is more incurable
than the manifold ways of doing evil,
and so difficult to forgive.
—Woeser, December 2, 2020, Beijing
(translated by Ian Boyden)