Winter 2000 • Vol. XXII No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 2000 |

On Issuing a Residential Certificate

This piece of paper with the seal on itshows you are a law-abiding citizen.Whenever a stranger appears in your neighborhoodyou must report him to us.If a neighbor of yours commits a crimeyou must turn him in, or you'll be punishedas an accomplice—either jailedor sent away to build roads,at least you'll lose a finger or an ear.But if you inform on him, you'll be rewardedlike a soldier who killed an enemy. Keep in mind you shouldn't have a large family,which is hard for us to supervise.Any household with more than two grown sonswill be taxed twice over.At peace you work your fields and providelabor whenever our emperor needs it;when a war breaks out, by dutyyou are a warrior and must fight with valor—that's your chance for nobility.Also, you're not allowed to travel.If you have to go somewhere, such asto a funeral or on a pilgrimage,you must have this certificate on youand register wherever you stay. In brief, with this piece of paper in handyou and your four acres now own e

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This piece of paper with the seal on itshows you are a law-abiding citizen.Whenever a stranger appears in your neighborhoodyou must report him to us.If a neighbor of yours commits […]

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