Liu Po Lin

(The Mongols were unable to capture the fortified cities

of China until, in the year 1220, a Chin engineer, Liu

Po Lin, entered the service of Genghis Khan, and taught

to the invaders the art of siege warfare.)


Liu Po Lin

turned coat

and shaved his beard

In the glass, dressed in skins, he looked like them

But he wasn’t


When he saw

the ruins of the city

where his sister’s children lived

he must have wondered


Why must we place our livelihood

above everything?

I am no different

When my belly is empty

it is my natural stance to grovel


In the desert

there were no stones

nothing to put on top

nothing to build under

He wandered amongst the tents

that now subserved the emperor

who was the conqueror of the universe

This is their capital

he wept. This is their capital.