day 30: the china bowl


The China Bowl


after Tingqun Zhang


You can build a nation

on a fragile body.


We did. We filled

our bowl with gentle animals

to satiate our hunger.

We plucked the blooms from

ornamental flowers.


You can eat rose, tulip,

calendula, chrysanthemum.

In our china bowl I have gathered


the naked bodies of songbirds,

petals, lost buttons. I tell the kitchen walls

this bowl is a family heirloom.


It lived in a cabinet for decades.

It is too beautiful to touch.


I turn the ingredients over

a wooden spoon. Only the cat is here

to watch me. I create


a porcelain cauldron. I’m making

mother of pearl stew.


At dusk, the china bowl purrs like

an animal. It hums weakly

when I enter the room.

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