by Marc Vincenz
Hong Kong, 1966-1969
The years of the Cultural Revolution & over the border
children are soldiers.
A Fire Horse like your son, or so the Venerable Chan intones, would burn
a thousand bridges like Stalin
or raise them high over galactic distances like JFK. In those years
when over the border
children are soldiers, fathers & mothers are paraded and paddled
as examples of proletariat degeneracy
& we move to Stanley, beyond the Happy Valley, on the edge
of a fisherman’s market
where they sell sea snakes by the dozen & clams the size of dinner plates.
It’s here my old man smokes cigars
& learns strategies in the art of war & Mother to bake apple pie
with flaky Danish pastry from my nursemaid,
Amma Lui, who’s worked in the kitchens of the Jockey Club.
While they plot & bake, the AC vent spits
hot air into our tropical garden. Outside among the rhododendrons
I ride my stick horse, Lightning,
running spears through hearts of cacti, eagerly watching
the thick white blood run all over the earth.
previously published in Revolution House