about the author

Pui Ying Wong is a native of Hong Kong and is bilingual in English and Chinese. She is the author of two chapbooks: Mementos (Finishing Line Press, 2007), Sonnet for a New Country (Pudding House Press, 2008). Her poems have appeared in The Asian Pacific American Journal, Blue Fifth Review, Chiron Review, DMQ Review, 5 AM, New York Quarterly, Poetz. Her poems in Chinese have appeared in China Press and New World Poetry. She has read her work on Talk Back, WBAI, Writers on War and Peace, Hudson Valley Writers and at the Queens Library where she also gave a talk on the premier Hong Kong poet Ping Kwan Leung. She has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize. An interview with her at Southern Bookman can be seen at louismayeux.typepad.com.

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An Emigrant’s Winter

Pui Ying Wong

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.

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