from A Certain Chinese Encyclopaedia

by Sarah Howe

Belonging to the Emperor

Today my name is Sorrow.
So sang the emperor’s first nightingale.

The emperor was a fickle god.
He preferred to be thrilled by an automatic bird

in filigreed gold. A musicbox, a leitmotif.
Love me, please. Orange blossom.

I see my father bathed in the blare of that same
aria, prodding the remote

to loop. Chiamerà, chiamerà
His face is red. Beneath his glasses, it is wet.


GFP is a protein derived from the jellyfish, Aequorea victoria, which emits
green light
upon illumination with blue light.
        – Hofker & van Deursen,
Transgenic Mouse: Methods and Protocols

Chimera, chimera –

               where does your garden grow?
A grafted Paradise. A mouthful of snow.

A Trojan conception – maculate cargo.
A spliced mouse – its unearthly day-glo.