Two poems from Goldfish (Chameleon Press, 2013)
Mother and Child
You showed me how to tell
a fresh egg by its shell,
holding it up against the lamp.
You’d look up at the sky, predict
from the stillness of the air
when the rain would arrive.
The language of your dishes:
ginger and tangerine peel julienned
to the finest; fish steamed to perfection.
On long summer nights
you’d lull me to sleep
in the breeze of your palm leaf fan.
Even caning, when it happened,
was a way of loving despite the hurt.
It has made me a braver girl.
And that first time I stood on the swing,
facing the wind, flying forward,
seeing the world with your help,
leaving but not leaving you.
My five elements.
The flowers of hero trees.
The gravity of earth and history.
A red boiled egg on my birthday.
The red bit in my Chunghwa pencil.
The language of protest
runs in my body, flows in my blood.
The explosion of the fire crackers.
I dream the Dream of the Red Chamber.
I drink the red sorghum wine.
Five bright stars shine on the red carpet.
A white bauhinia grows on the same red.
Red is our metaphor. Look at the red baby
of Zhang Xiao Gang. Look. Look.
You never forget.
The red lanterns sway in the dark.
Even in my sleep, the red blood flows.
Jennifer Wong is a Hong Kong-born poet. She is the author of Goldfish (Chameleon Press, 2013). She has received the Young Artist Award from the Hong Kong Arts Development Council in 2014. She is now working on a PhD on Chinese diaspora poetry at Oxford Brookes. Twitter @jennywcreative