Poetry / June 2012 (Issue 17)

How Hong Kong Was Made

by Birgit Linder

Children in the courtyard
Spread barley seeds to grow cities.
But Ah Lee had called the birds
in from the sky.
Only one robin red-breast
was caught in the paw
of the singing cat,
like a wayward butterfly
flickering above its head,
and let go in a twitch
the last of the barley
that grows in the end
into a skyscraper.
Ah Lee was sent to the Pied Piper.
The singing cat still waves its golden paw.
Our children now play
framed by square shadows.
And the robin twitters in its wooden cage.
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