Tammy Ho Lai-ming

Tammy Ho Lai-ming, aka Sighming, is a Hong Kong-born writer. She is the editor of Hong Kong U Writing: An Anthology (March 2006), a co-editor of Word Salad Poetry Magazine http://www.wsmagazine.net  and a co-founder of the first Hong Kong-based online literary journal, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal  www.asiancha.com More at www.sighming.com


I never have enough space to juxtapose
Summer and winter. In summer I hide
The winter clothes: woolly jumpers
And scarves hand-knitted by a sister.
Stuffed in luggage in the kitchen
Or 'red-white-blue' nylon bags
Under the bed. The key is

To make them invisible.

In winter my summer skirts find
Refuge in the belly of the old Chinese
Cabinet. It's not antique but is
A centrepiece of the living room.
Heavy coats are dangled everywhere:
On the arms of the armchair,
On a doorknob.

Without central heating, being at
Home does not feel 'at home'. There is
No need for warming devices in most
Of winter. Yet when the temperature
Drops to below ten Degree Celsius,
And it is drizzling outside from dawn
To dusk, the subtropical inhabitants
Can boast that they understand

How it may feel to live
At the North Pole.


Let me start with the kites.
We studied them, and debated:
In the dark,

will the unwanted kites,
strings tangling with tree branches,
attempt to fly again?

A tiny brown butterfly
taught us to be humble
was to be motionless
on a white dew-less petal.

Natural painters. Random trails on
green leaves left by snails.

You told me to hail the emptiness
of those far away small islands
(lack of invaders)
made of rocks made of fresh air
made by nature.

Translucent water in the abandoned
fish pond. There's no fish in the pond.

Maybe I walked for the sake
of walking with you. Otherwise,
I would be walking on that closed road,
then, disappear in obscurity.

Soon we were back to the yelling
and shouting of kids, to the
smell of people and barbecued steaks.
But we did not end there. Thanks.

It was lovely to walk bare-foot. The sun
was shining but the rocks that we walked
on were cool. Why wouldn't it be longer?

The walk. Life.

Now, where are you in heaven? My
unanswered prayers will pile themselves
until they form a cliff
we cannot walk on.

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