Bak Gaap Chao


The arch
over the gate marked 16
is nightly shelter
for twelve working girls
each of them sleeping now,
replaced by bicycles,
daylight, and drying fish.

So
ordinary is this street:
the scattered rain of red paper
collecting in the gutters,
the barbers gambling smoke
under ancient umbrellas
along the receding water's edge;
the rice bowls and razors
of the 16th arch on the harbour.

Yet
ther rises over the smoke of exile
a crash of voices in tones
suddenly too familiar for comfort.
This will surely send us scurrying
for dark tugboats waiting
beneath watermarked barges,
for the endles farewell of the ocean.

Till
the last hanging fish
fades from view
and is replaced
with an alternate order
to the daily chaos,
which could be pianos,
tapestries, or pasta.

1 Comment:

  1. John, The Pope said...
    Very beautiful poem!

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