A Kazakh herdsman in Xinjiang
woke to find among his cows
a giant black meteorite.
What are rights
and claims to this boulder,
formed not on land
or even on the earth,
but in space utter and outer?
The seventeen tons of siderite
were hauled off officially,
with the cows left to graze
around the crater, like a bad joke.
If accident befalls a man,
if a branch lands on and crushes
his roof, if a bird flying overhead
shits on said head, that is his,
like a bad joke poorly translated.
“Give me back my meteorite,”
the man might have wanted to yell,
“It fell on my land,” but he did not.
He might have said, “this is the eye
of Allah. It chose me.”
But what is one man against
The People's Court of Altay
of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
in northwest China? You might as well
call back through 4,500,000,000 years
to a shattered planet, to a lost buckle
in the asteroid belt. Zhuman Reamazhaen
kicked a terrestrial rock the size of a walnut.
A cow looked up, lowed, returned to her cud.