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