Poetry / November 2008 (Issue 5)

Jilin, circa 1261

by Sam Byfield

Rumble of coal trucks, clack of hoof
on stone, babble of dialect, portent, break
of sun through slats. I've stopped listening

to my dreams. Pigeons wheel overhead
like bullies at a building site. Spring's buds
aren't buds but metaphors. The city dons

its masks each morning, yet every man
can sense what's coming. This house sees
everything: her living, dying, our little ones

confused, bereft, then gone themselves.
A general roar outside the city's walls,
the crunch of boots, men mobilised.

Northern warlords have come for their share.
Already, though, I'm dead inside, history
has taken from me all it can.

Editors' note: Read a review of Sam Byfield's The Middle Kingdom by Edgar Y.B. Mao here.

Website © Cha: An Asian Literary Journal 2007-2018
ISSN 1999-5032
All poems, stories and other contributions copyright to their respective authors unless otherwise noted.