when we elevated a section of the great wall

   we had a student from the middle kingdom stay with us for three weeks and she was

perfectly happy here despite the multitudes of bullocks and a malfunctioning body scanner.

   there was no ill will generated when we elevated a section of the great wall.

   her family – descendants of a red six-volume book printed quarterly and dating back

to the song dynasty – liked to chase unsavoury loans through the back entrance to their

home that looked out on the yellow river.

   the children were fully aware at the age of nine or ten that this was a well-organised

filing cabinet gratified by an embassy that specialises in orientalism.

   every day visitors clocked in and out, secure in their swipe-phone knowledges and

officious myopias.

   the accused were thoroughly examined and depositions from witnesses taken to a

line of dinghies moored at the banks where mindless people twitter.

   despite paragraph rearrangements here and there, human rights discourse retains all

the harshness of wild fruit, and multicultural streams have never been in vogue, damned as

they are by sand bags.

   the student’s advice:

   always use your best people and porcelain cleaned with lavender and baking soda,

pay close attention to the heavy legislations framed in wood upwards of one hundred

pounds in weight,

   forget about binding allowances, and think twice before drawing the

colour line because the editor is not white and mao was not the last dancer.

   if you look up and admire the light fittings and ceiling cornices, we could be asian-

pacific sweethearts for eight hundred years: we celestials excel at kite-flying.






Grace Yee

Grace Yee teaches in the writing and literature programs at the University of Melbourne and at Deakin University. She is currently a Creative Fellow at the State Library of Victoria. Her poetry has most recently appeared in Meanjin, Rabbit, and Poetry New Zealand Yearbook.

More by Grace Yee ›

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