Central Pier 4

By Helen Bowell

From the boat, you point out

the home your parents built

 

rising through the trees.

Look now. It’s only visible

 

from this exact point –

then the ferry motors on.

 

Today the sea is rough.

It thumps as if a shark’s

 

beating the hull.

Still, you trust in this ferry,

 

your means between the islands

you’ve always called home.

 

While you put down roots in England,

on Hong Kong Island blocks of flats

 

shot up like bamboo. Now

floating home on the night crossing,

 

these cloud-kissing towers

can be read like columns

 

in a paper, each living room light

a Chinese character.

 

But you’ve been away so long, 阿媽,  

perhaps tonight you feel illiterate.

 

When a voice says disembark,

you clamber up and look around

 

as if anxious not to leave

anything else behind.

© 2020 harana poetry

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