Christina Coates

The midnight rain is bitter as cardboard soaked in caustic soda and mixed with pork fat, rolled into balls and fried and then sold as dumplings to feed the poor and hungry. The cardboard over my head – my paper roof – is soaked with rain tonight; the cardboard sucking up the rain like caustic soda, disintegrating it, mashing my squatter home like those dumplings, so that my chest will heave and my cough will rack the night – the bitter night rain in this thin ragged box. The taste of poverty is like those caustic pork dumplings they sell to the poor in China.


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