No Light

By Annie Li

after Chen Chen

It’s 1989 and my parents are running. I
Close my eyes and see their sweat beating
Like a belt on a yellow wrist or two shopping bags
To stop war. My father was a warrior. They say
He carved hollow his stomach just to say no. We
Are left wondering why it’s called an incident. It’s
Liùsì shìjiàn, June Fourth Incident. No light
Exists for us to hold. We would rather die with
Darkness than live by the sun. Chairman Mao,
I flip you off when I think of my father. I
Spray paint a penis on the portrait of you,
Warhol-esque and all, and soldiers storm in, chasing
After me and it’s 1989 again and I am running for us. I
Am a sunflower seed. I am tired of the air
Circulating in my lungs. I am tired of running. I
Am tired. A stomach is shriveling with drought
And all the police say is good, save bullets. My
Mother is forgetting his voice and my father,
His body, is somewhere in the world, fighting
For a space in her memory. She is losing
Him and a policeman shows up at my door, tells me
I am not off the hook for the graffiti on Mao’s
Painting. I smile with a match and say, it’s called an
Incident. Laugh with fireworks.

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