A IS FOR A-KÉ, THE CHINESE MONSTER and the Tragedy of P, His Parasitic Twin | Heidi Czerwiec

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Heidi Czerwiec is a poet, essayist, translator and critic. She is the author of Self-Portrait as Bettie Page and the forthcoming Sweet/Crude: A Bakken Boom Cycle, and the editor of North Dakota Is Everywhere: An Anthology of Contemporary North Dakota Poets. Tell her things at heidiczerwiec.com

 

 

 

 

F IS FOR FOREIGN BODIES

 

 

Canton: shimmering insomnia flickering like foil by torchlight above the riffle and purl of river, wherefore warehouses of fragrant tea and silks sussurating in crates, fishermen hawking gobbets of fish-flesh whose stench is staunched by too little ice while dogs with ribboned ears and crusted hides lurch along Shameen Bridge between bustled dresses where pigtailed beggars tug on muslin, and fans (painted silk or lace) cut swathes through an indistinguishable medley of smells.

 

Canton: port in progress of turning foreign to itself, does not note P’s arrival – the horrors that hurt his head, he who, used to claustral now so accosted – nor note his apartness, nor his retreat.