A concubine’s daughter, yes.
A blackened peach in the palm
of her father’s blistered hands.
Leader of the Gang of Four,
Mao’s widow. Mao’s third wife.
She, the Great Flag-Carrier
of the Proletarian culture,
who at sixteen, too poor for underwear
fled her mother for a Beijing theater group.
Later, a lonesome patient in some
Moscow hospital with throat cancer,
they say–how serious, they don’t.
Her husband refused to visit.
Later, a withered prune woman
haunting a cell, turning up a wrinkled lip.
Batty, old Maoist, muttering:
“This is not the Chairman’s
She, who rode with her cruel
ambition, dressed jewels in
private jets and sex-politics,
hounding death on the fools
that once scorned her. Aggressive,
beautiful and twenty-four, then–
Then, at seventy-seven,
was it really some mute suicide
that stole her– she who
to the ground, refused by
her only daughter.
A dancing revolution of
heartlessness and loneliness,
of wanting to own the ink of a setting sun.
In the smoke of voice, the
dancing revolution of her husband’s
“Women hold up half the sky,”
And she, a gnarled branch, and flowerless:
“I bit whomever he wanted me to bite.”