I am standing in line to see a corpse. His face
hangs on the gates of The Forbidden City,

and if I hold his stare and pause,
the people behind stop

and politely ask me to move along.
Tiananmen Square is a blaze

of sun and specks of kites, rows of tourists
waiting their turn. We will be bodies

filing past a body. Cameras and bags
have been checked, and the memory of Mao

is a glance through glass under watching guards,
a waxen ghost in a see through case.

In the souvenir shop, still chilled
from the air of preservation,

you can remember with mugs and pens,
hats and caps, a musical lighter that plays

March of the Volunteers, not the TV second of a man
who vanished,

coming home from work with his sleeves
rolled up, halting tanks with a jacket in his hand.


Mao, was filmed by North Isle Productions and selected for inclusion in the 4th ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival.