Showing posts from December, 2016

Sunday Breakfast

The waitress, a smallish girl with heavy makeup, came with the menu to take my order. She dropped it and made to turn away. If she was familiar with me, she would know I place my orders immediately. I’m a regular here.  “Please, wait. I am placing my order straight away.” She had the figure of a runway model. I didn’t recognise her. I opened the menu and ordered Purr Double Breakfast. “But, please, make it omelettes instead of eggs.” “This is a standard menu, sir. It has to be eggs.” I peered at the nametag on her blue polo shirt.  “Kathie, please check with your chef. I’ve had it that way before here.” “OK, sir. I will check and be back.” She strode off. Cyndi Lauper crooned Time After Time from the speakers hidden in the ceiling. I shut my eyes to savour the richness of her voice. The waitress came back. “I apologize. You can have it your way, sir.” “It’s OK. With coffee and water. All to be served at the same time.”  That instruction was i

A Mockery of Tears

Grass, grown tall, cuts at his arms. He swipes back, but blade after blade they fight him, drawing lines of blood that serve only to feed the gasping soil. Poppies parade past him as he runs. Their stems erect, their heads tilted back, they watch him leap and fly, tearing through the endless green.  A shout: Captain! Captain! The call, it twists around him, dizzying in its antiphony. Pulled forwards and then back by the words, he stumbles in confusion, then rights himself and continues to trample through the virgin field. Decapitating poppies as he passes, petals dance like the damned around him, fluttering to the ground to form a blood red pool. Black seeds scatter across the mass of petals, only to be crushed beneath the Captain’s feet as he pounds on and on.  Again, there is the call. This time closer but he doesn’t hesitate. On he runs; faster and faster, until he trips. There is the sensation of falling, a velvet thud resounds as he hits the ground, then black. How long he

Lantern Festival, Qining, 1928.

With ribbons in her hair, Quan went out to view the lights and commemorate the dead. In the cold, she called to a boy whose face was a flame in a bakery window. They whispered together a blasphemy, a dare: we shall ride on yellow dragons past the river. Later she drew pictures on peach-colored paper while her mother spoke of Chiang Kai-Shek. The world was far from them, but the lanterns swung like faces and the dumplings on the table steamed. Each imagined love, each the road, which ended at Lanzhou. by Carl Boon