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Poetry | India
Pol Pot
Mani Rao

Pol Pot

Piece by piece clothes fell skin peeled and flesh ran in lumps and gravy


Her sidelong glance still tosses lazily on your hammock smile

Icecube swirling provocation in your glass


The bones are good to drum with

Tusk plucked and thrown like a gauntlet

Row of ivory pawns

Pillars in war of no ceiling



You relieve the palms of superfluous arms and use their sawtooth blades

to slice our necks


Shells of infant heads you smash on trees

Oil stains trunks as tears of elephants


We play calm host to your furrowing worms

Rats tentative in our gullies

Radio flies


When you tap for one last formal dance we show up in crossbone bowties

Jiggling our hips we make the ratatat.tat of castanets


Your raised leg swings the ball of your foot bounces tilting the earth

the heel falls correcting the tilt

Chandeliers heave

Marbles Rrrrrr


Our skulls your lost beachballs

Somedaysome snake our scarf or rag will loop through our sockets

to polish us



En Route

Hiding in a tree trunk

Looking through the hollows

Firs in new wedding gowns

Fire budding Christmas trees


It was the trees jangling interior bangles

The tigers striped past silently

Rugs on the floor of salvation wood


The first time I saw ginseng I understood the body to be root

Until a slice of what I could only call steakwood


The river swears it’s blue   will carry you across

Soon as you leap in   fast moving coils

Who said the python’s dead


Where is the hatch

Somewhere here but giant roots flowed over

Is it sealed

Bloody me

Will we keep


Gone too far free out at sea why does the water wave as if pining

for the ties of Shiva’s braids

The tangles at the fountainhead

From here the view of the dance

From The Editor
Reportage | North Korea
Mr Pak Deborah Kan gets a rare glimpse inside the hermit state
Memoir | China
Girl on Fire (Hohhot, 1988) Wayne McLennan recalls an encounter that left him hot under the collar
Travel | Indonesia
Rimbaud in Java
Interview | China
Ma Jian
Non-fiction | China
The Chinese Novel Pearl S Buck’s Nobel lecture eighty years on, with an introduction by Justin Hill
Photography | Cambodia
Cambodia's Boomtown Children
China Watermelon Boats Su Tong
Malaysia People Take Pictures of Each Other Rebbeca Chew
China Letters to a City of Illusion and Hope Xiaolu Guo
Singapore Fireworks O Thiam Chin
Malaysia Four Days (June 1983) Preeta Samarasan
Eddie Tay, Mahmoud Darwish, Mani Rao, Anushka Anastasia Solomon, Reid Mitchell, Lucy Mize

Asian literature,Asian writers,Asian writing,Chinese literature,Chinese writing,Asian American writing