The Centaur Festival

Who willed this city? And you here. Who will
Decode the avenue of potted asparagus, yew needles
And snake gourd lanterns hung from the eaves.

This festival is unknown to you. You do not recognize
The constellations etched on the obsidian plate; it is
Toward the starless sky, children lift up their bellflowers

Lit from within. Fish-mouthed, you pass through rows
Of acetylene torches, the stalls of tortoise shell candies,
Cinnamon water, and bottles of five-pointed sand grains-

Someone hands you a goldfish in a wineglass, and you
Force yourself to speak in their language by swallowing
The fish alive, feeling its scarlet scales flake off as it touches

Your throat, the pyramid of its belly wriggles to choke you.