Last Night in Beijing By Patrick Tong

Last Night in Beijing

after Christina Im

City uprooted straight from the
man’s hand & all the palms needed
to mother it. City shot up to the
moon & still leaning over the dirt.

City orphaned like an injury. Stung
& smeared. City with a sea spitting
blood. Sea’s stomach that kneaded
away all the bodies during the

war–when the bayonets shivered
into the soil & still could not
hide from the invader’s arm.
City where children scrambling

over the balconies strung together in
the sky & how the sun became so
afraid. City swallowed by hunger.
City with cataracts in both eyes

under a tyrant. How to cleave a
thousand flocks of sparrows to
let locusts fill the shadows around
the fields. City with citizens too

honest for those on the throne,
taught how to martyr under the sky.
City where death outraces the
morning, the cruelest economy.

City with a name that doesn’t kick
off the way Richmond does.
A language that betrayed the
cupping of your tongue. Or

are you the traitor? City with
foreign footsteps nobody can
scrape back their blood from.
These godless tracks. Children

who were taught to pray over
the same road they died on. As
if every story ends as soon as
it starts. That romantic. City ripped

clean from your birthrights. No
more secrets to hold. City with
three chambers. How it used to
sit so normal when it was farewell.

City crossed. City shrinking. City lost.

By Patrick Tong


Patrick Tong is currently in his junior year at Adlai E. Stevenson High School, located in the ghostly and anonymous suburbs of Chicago. He serves as a second reader for Polyphony H.S., a copy editor for their blog Voices, and his work has been published by Eunoia Review. Unfortunately, he has a tendency to accidentally stave off his piles of homework by spending hours on a single piece. Besides editing and writing, he enjoys playing tennis, attempting to play songs on the piano by ear and failing, or listening to music in the limited free time he has.

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