Three Years of Natural Disasters

      “They ate their own children.”
     —Yang Jisheng, on The Great Famine

In an hour it will be summer A time to admire wild things But all our sparrows are shot Left in heaps of rotting trash

So in the dark where no one is
Awake I dig their bones back
Let you slurp on chicken stew
Pretend I still remember truth

As I skin these bodies one after
Another    In the morning I say
They are visiting your mother
Gifting us silence    And dinner

Is now gray water rice a long
Minute of constant lies saying
Words that will be thrown out
Set on fire hoping a few stray

Feathers fall on my skin keep
Me warm and safe as the soil
Burns then maybe I will grab
Hold you tight succumb to the

Terrible    But I taught you how
To run away when the smoke
Grows closer    To always look
Up    Write down what I forgot.