A fallen giant of imperial industry,
with a toe in every peasant’s backyard,
lonely, despite the people living in it.
Lost rocks of an empire
litter the expanse of its own domain
like an uncomfortable welcome mat.
If the stones were alive, they would breathe
in time with my tiny steps, compose
love poetry to lotuses
who kiss the water in their wake,
blinking their sleepy petals as they wave in the fog,
daydreaming that the pollutive embrace of motorbike smoke
is sweet poison from the past.
Helen Tran has an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC. Her thesis project was a steampunk novel written under the supervision of Joseph Boyden. She is a professor at Niagara College and lives in the Niagara Region with her husband, daughter, and a very important housecat. Her work has appeared in Ricepaper Magazine’s Currents anthology and in Grey Borders Magazine. She has a forthcoming publication in Augur Magazine.