One Stone, Two Birds


by Tammy Ho Lai-Ming

It came to me as an idea
for how the PRC can
explain away future disappearances
of dissidents:

Make them volunteer
on Chinese Central Television
to show their patriotism
by sailing the South China Sea.

Then when they never
come back, are never heard from
again, say they have vanished
in the manner of the crew

on the Mary Celeste.
Blame is best placed on mystery,
on supernatural phenomenon,
especially when there’s precedent.

Tell the world that until
their bodies are found,
their restless spirits will
haunt the South China Sea,

its fish stocks, its coral reefs,
its oil and gas reserves beneath its beds.
A sea haunted by accursed Chinese ghosts
will truly be a Chinese sea,

for eternity and eternity
and eternity.

About the Author:


Tammy Ho Lai-Ming is a founding co-editor of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal and she has edited several volumes of poetry and short fiction published in Hong Kong. Her first poetry collection Hula Hooping (Chameleon Press) was published in April 2015 and her first short story collection Her Name Upon The Strand (Delere Press) is forthcoming. Earlier this year, she received the Young Artist Award in Literary Arts presented by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. She is an Assistant Professor at Hong Kong Baptist University, where she teaches poetics, fiction and modern drama.