The Baiji tun was the goddess of the Yangtze. A woman who was drowned by her kin, for refusing loveless marriage—that is what the Chinese said, of the one who haunted their Chang Jiang.

The Baiji tun was a dolphin in flesh, the nu shen of the Chang Jiang; Chang Jiang nu shen, the Yangtze goddess. A beautiful mammal fish, of the long, long waters, the very one of Zhong Guo.

In hanzi, the goddess is 白鱀豚。White, she was, so her name states; and gone, she is, so pollution states.

And so the river runs without its princess, the river runs on; the tides roll, in and out, without its goddess.

The Baiji tun is older than Zhong Guo, and much more than China; the nu shen is the older Chinese, the spirit of the Chang Jiang, that flows with the silt. The Baiji tun is old China, before the smog, before steel made massive; a China that was only land, and then land split; a China that became China, and set fire to the air so that it rained gray; like poison. The sky disappeared, not so long ago, and the dying Baiji with it.

And now—where is the white shadow, that haunts the river? Where is the princess, who died for lost love? Where is the Baiji, goddess of the Chang Jiang?

Gone.

Gone, so they say.

Gone.

Dead.

Gone.

And gone. For. Ever.