“Are We Dead Yet?” by Ilaria Maria Sala

Are We Dead Yet?
by Ilaria Maria Sala

How many times are we going to die?
You keep repeating that we are dead—
And then you say we are dead again.
What I don’t know is
If you think we were alive in between the deaths.

You said we were dead
But the truly dead don’t cry. They don’t bleed. They don’t fight.
I don’t know why you’d rather be so blind 
Or what kind of pleasure this sentence gives you—
Announcing our death like you’re proving your point.

The death of Hong Kong
It has come and then it has come again.
But we are still here—are we dead yet?
I read it in the newspapers and they seemed outraged—and gleeful.
Maybe if we were kind enough to die they could move on.

You said we were dead and I screamed—
I don’t want you to bury us alive.
I can’t really tell if you’re sorry;
It seems that we die and die and then—
Just like this, we have died once more.

Do not say that I am dead to you.
You are not dead to me.
We are not dead yet, so wait, wait, hold that eulogy.
Death sounds so final but I looked around—
Are we dead yet? 
Who are those that I see, the ones still here, all this?
This love is not blood this is a smothered flame.

How to cite: Sala, Ilaria Maria. “Are We Dead Yet?.” Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, 11 Nov. 2020, hkprotesting.com/2020/11/11/not-dead/.

Photograph © Ilaria Maria Sala.

Ilaria Maria Sala was born in Italy, grew up in Bologna and Florence, and now lives in Hong Kong, where she writes about Hong Kong and China. She studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies, Beijing Normal University, and Beijing University. She is a winner of the Bruce Chatwin Award for travel literature for Il Dio dell’Asia: Religione e Politica in Oriente: Un Reportage, a book of travel features about religion. Her articles can be found in the Guardian, at Hong Kong Free Press, and ChinaFile, among other places. She has published poetry and reviews in Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. Ilaria is a Vice President of PEN Hong Kong.

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