Wing Yau was born and raised in Hong Kong and has lived in Australia since 2008. She enjoys re-discovering beauty and small things in life when she is not at work. Her writings have appeared in Life Writing and 2412 Digital Chapbook, Peril and Gargouille.
My grandma said in the fiction of flying
everyone knows about the rooftop chicken,
who used to live on the top floor of buildings
in a place known as the Pearl of the Orient,
before its beauty was pilfered
by the Symphony of Light –
or so it’s called. Each time the chicken hopped
from one building to the next, their wings spread,
such is the pretext of flying on rooftop.
A mottled feather floated like an aria flowed
out of the prostitute’s window – a reward for us
who worked hard and dreamed with our heads low.
“It’s a symbol of good luck, if the feather got stuck
to your back on your way home.” But
Someone bridged the gaps between buildings
with power and concrete. The chicken now walked
from one roof to the next. Down in the wet alley
we still worked hard – washing dishes with sweat
and digging endless holes on dead-end roads .
Half intoxicated in the sunless heat
I asked my grandma about the chicken.
“They were chased away by the pheasants.
One by one they plunged off the concrete heaven,
eaten and forgotten.” But how did the other
birds got up there in the first place?
Even my grandma did not know.
Hard to Think
Sweaty hair stuck on his forehead
as he sings with the muted tune on TV.
His lips do not sync with the screaming next door —
a human soundscape in Tagalog.
It is hard to think here – what he has
left behind: a room on Queen’s Road,
slithers of Victoria Harbour
between high-rises. Immigrants always
say they come here for a better life.
The corniced ceiling incongruent
with its unrelenting peeling plaster –
a fungal disease at the centre.
Underneath, the square holes for air
spotted with dead insects. When strong wind
blows, how many upturned bodies
it will take to make a chorus for the home-
coming concert? It’s hard to think.
Taped on the wall,
above where his head lies every night
a poster of an Asian woman –
Her naked honeyed back smooth
like a tune he hums in the shower.
Her face half-turned,
seducing no one in particular.
He spends more time studying
the trapped spider somewhere at the corner
of the wall than missing the women at home.
He finds it hard to think back –
To his left, the heel of yesterday barely scuffs
the wooden floorboard as it makes its way
to the backdoor. It sounds, he thinks,
like a yawn of a polite host.