Lantern Review: A Journal of Asian American Poetry

Issue 3 | Summer 2011

Oliver de la Paz

Dear Empire,

These are your holy places. Your furthest chapel skirts the coast of the sea. There are rumors of creatures across the ocean and our children fear to go to the beach.

We have photographed some of these monsters. This one is from archives. Note its showcased back. Lively creature. The three-dimensional image does not do it justice. We carried the head of one of their spies in a lime sack. You like his expression: empty with his gums decaying back into his nostrils.

I fear to tell you that there is smoldering over the ridge of the horizon. The watch from the chapel tower says these are smokestacks, not monsters. Their spires clutter the once-smooth edge of what you were. Because of this, we’ve cast the priests from their loft and have lined the windows with our top marksmen.

The weather balloons jerk with the roiling current. Look to the coast. Take this as a sign.