Empty, except for

by Kika Man


the birds, they fill the streets.
See their wings, their feathers, their excretions.
This town has never been abandoned,
even as the people leave behind
the unoccupied benches, the water fountains reflecting the gold.
Its roofs are broken and scattered, the dust has settled
on the pots and pans in the run-down kitchens.
And as the last inhabitant clears up
their space, an ant carrying a sugar cube the size of a caravan will move in,
an owl will watch them go, twisting their neck as to wave them
goodbye. Goodbye, and may it all go well.
Goodbye, and be safe.
Goodbye.



Kika Man 文詠玲 (26 May, 1997) is a writer and a student from Belgium, and also from Hong Kong. She has always been writing and playing and learning and reading. To them, all of these are one and the same. Kika writes about mental health, traveling and dreaming, about her mixed identity, about music and blueness. Alongside writing poetry, she is part of Slam-T (a spoken word & slam poetry platform). They have majored in Eastern Languages and Cultures: China at Ghent University and are currently chasing after a degree and PhD in Gender and Diversity and Cultural studies. Kika’s first poetry book will be published soon in 2021-2022. Liz Baron is an artist and restaurateur who lives in Texas by way of New York City. She and her husband, Jim, founded, own and operate four Mexican-Southwestern restaurants. She got her Bachelor of Fine Art from Pratt Institute but stopped painting when restaurant work and family life consumed most of her time. She is grateful to the online art classes of Sketchbook Skool that helped her regain the joy of a regular art practice.