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.
The police have checked our camera,
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
halting tanks with a bagful of shopping.
MAO was animated for the Berlin Poetry Film Festival