That winter, water froze in the pipes
and the faucet wheezed like asthma.
Icicles teethed along the power line,
I opened my mouth and my speech stuttered.
The entire city lived in a snow globe,
even big men trod timidly in the wind, hiding their faces
like shamed felons caught by the TV camera.
The market sold out everything,
a young boy snatched the last pack of meat.
Sleet fell all night, tapping
on the windows the way the dead might.
In my dream I went back to the house
that had forgotten about me,
not one there asked how I’d been.
But I sat with them just the same,
watching TV like I had never left.
Who will remember what, who can say?
Mornings punctured by sounds of dragging snowplows,
I peeped at the sun, the feeble white disc,
failed again to burn off the clouds.
It was so cold I could think of fire
and only fire.
Previously published in decomP magazinE.
Pui Ying Wong was born in Hong Kong. She is the author of a full-length book of poetry Yellow Plum Season (NYQ Books, 2010) and two chapbooks: Mementos and Sonnet for a New Country. Her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and Best of the Web and Best of the Net editions.
Object(s) to bring back to life: “I wish there were still a Yau Ma Tei ferry boat; I loved riding on one when I was a girl in Hong Kong.”