Pui Ying Wong


Pui Ying Wong







The waiter hands us

oversized knives


in a nest of avocado

and corn, the meat


bleeds, a band plays

near the bar, it’s only


Thursday. Outside,

graduates at the pavilion,


dressed in robes like a church choir

wave their diplomas and sashes.


I remember the chunks

of meat hanging


in the butcher shop

near my grandmother’s


where after school

I escorted her home


because of her poor eyesight,

the butcher unhooking


the meat and wrapping it

still dripping


in the newspaper. I watched

words absorbing the blood,


blood dissolving the words.

How strange to contain


a vanished world

inside my body which still requires


to be fed &

this & that other worlds


hopscotch while I eat

off a white plate


in a city this new summer

hearing swing music


in a room packed with tourists

or suddenly, from the graduates


a heady wave of brass



the anthem

gleams the harbor

flag-decked schooners

crisscrossing water-taxis

clambake at sunset

a lone cloud crawls.






February just after Chinese

New Year so full

Eating rice cake


Primetime TV

Shows & business types

Filled the airwaves

With auspicious greetings


Longevity & the Best Year

That’s Here & Now


From the balcony

We saw a few barges in the bay

Tugboats moored

Behind a strip of sandbar

It seemed all of Kowloon

Was mist-cladded


Lights bounced off

Tsing Ma Bridge

Unhinged & spectral


Our evening walk

Past a bland stretch

Of road to Jordan

Prospered with Mahjong Parlor

Sauna Club & Foot Massage

A mix of Putonghua

& Cantonese

Spoken freely there

Odd to see

Out of a colony of neon

On the façade of a 70’s building

A white cross beamed

I am life


Stall after stall

Of trinkets

On Temple Street

The night market


Lighter Calendar

Chopsticks Panda

Hook Comb

Tee Shirts Obama

Marilyn Monroe

Socks Fake-Silk X

Men Hello Kitty

A hole-in-the-wall

Snake shop

Live snakes eyes bulging

Twitched in wire cages

Who was eyeing who

The customers all men

Stepped up to the counter

As if for communion


At 8 a crowd gathered

On the boardwalk

For the light show

We walked away

Toward Hung Hum

The ferry still ran

Every half hour

It was indispensable

Then I said

You remember the poem

North Point Ferry

By Yasi written

Precisely forty years ago


At his memorial reading

A few evenings before

The same poem

Was read aloud

In French & Cantonese

Rainbow in oil-

slicked sea

Skyscrapers trembled

in puddles

But Love

Who was that bystander

Eyes black as soot

Who still went looking

For a handful of dirt


Leaning on the guardrail

Waves beneath us

We heard the cheer

From top of the towers

Lasers shot out

Across the skyline

Array of colors

Striking the clouds

A red one broke off

Like remnants

From the Eastern Sun

Straight from hell












Pui Ying Wong was born in Hong Kong. She is the author of a full length book of poetry Yellow Plum Season (New York Quarterly Books, 2010), two chapbooks: Mementos (Finishing Line Press, 2007), Sonnet for a New Country (Pudding House Press, 2008) and her poems have appeared in Angle Poetry (U.K.), The Brooklyner, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal (Hong Kong), Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, Crannog (Ireland), Desde Hong Kong: poets in conversation with Octavio Paz, Chameleon Press (Hong Kong), Hawaii Pacific Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Prairie Schooner, The Southampton Review, Taos Journal of Poetry & Art and 2Bridges Review among others. She lives in Cambridge, MA with her husband, the poet Tim Suermondt.



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