--by Tammy Ho Lai-Ming and Reid Mitchell
HE: When I walked out my door, I saw the abandoned buildings.
SHE: Even the mailboxes were ripped out, so nobody could write, even if anybody cared to write anybody here ever again.
HE: I heard that parents hid food from their teenage children. At times of hunger, a loaf of bread is better than a thousand year old name.
SHE: You cannot turn nature on its head, and search through your pearls for an oyster or grow meat on fishbone comb.
HE: The telephone lines were good only for crows to perch on. Then we ate all the crows.
SHE: When there was nothing else to eat, the old volunteered their fingers.
HE: They said they needed them no more, with nothing to pick up and put to their lips.
SHE: When we went to cook them, we discovered that our children had eaten all the wood we might burn and chew our iron pots into pieces.
HE: Our children had grown teeth that could crunch bone.
SHE: My daughter cried, "Eat your father. Grow fat on your father so we can eat you."
("Filial Piety" was first published in Qarrtsiluni, January 2009)