During those final Mao years
when people were hungry,
clever hunters broadcast
mating songs to catch 20,000 wild birds
sold in Guangzhou for food.
Street level at Tsim Sha Tsui,
domestic helpers walk the dogs,
don’t have a say what color
the owner decides to dye the fur.
A wave of cold air in front of stores
each time the automatic doors open.
Now that the land’s been reclaimed,
now that dredging reefs in a rising sea
serves as a platform for an airstrip,
perhaps it’s time to account for the past –
how many died that day? There’s pig DNA
in chocolate bars and 32 suitcases
at baggage claim are wet, leaking
from all the tusks and horns stuffed
inside, minimally processed, meat
still attached. Along the roadside
there’s a vacuform plastic package,
the negative shape of a large knife.
Copyright 2016, David Francis
An independent curator by trade, David Francis’s poems have appeared in about a dozen journals, including Art Access, The Iowa Review, Ploughshares, Verse, and Poetry Northwest. He holds MFA and PhD degrees from University of Washington.