The Great Banquet by Ally Chua

The slain dragon lies amidst rubble.
We have taken its head. Somewhere in this
darkened mansion Ma has prepared
a great banquet. We start with oxtail soup,
followed by tiger’s paw. Goat is braised with horse
radish to get rid of the gamey taste. The table sags
from the weight. To partake we must get our hands
dirty; willing to tear flesh from rabbit feet. Give the dog
a bad name and hand it to the butcher. We slice down
the middle of the suckling pig. Out spills rat tails
in snake oil. Eat every part of the rooster except
the crimson wattle. Leave the trepanned monkey–
there are more dishes to be served. We have been here
for three days. My teeth are stained with meat and
and wine. They taste like bronze on my tongue.

BIO: Ally Chua is a Singaporean poet. She is the 2019 Singapore Unbound Fellow for New York City, and a member of local writing collective /s@ber. Ally has been published in Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Cordite Poetry Review, and Lammergeier Magazine. She works in the communications industry, and writes when she’s not replying emails within seven working days.

An avid solo traveler and reader, Ally finds inspiration from a wide variety of sources, including her travels, Richard Siken’s words, the lyrics of Brian Fallon, and zombie video games.

Of her poem, Ally says, “The Great Banquet is a reimagining of Chinese zodiac animals as spoils of battle, in the style of the hedonistic meal known as 满汉全席.”


Truancy 8, July 2020