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Jennifer Wong




From the west to the east
the river runs its course

where small tourist boats
pass through spectacular relief.

The wind you hear in the valley
is made sublime by the poets.

But the grief from what used to be
the largest cradle of fish and shrimps:

this water’s wrath that devours
children and stone age relics.

That to tame the water dragon
is as impossible as learning to live with it.

Do not ask me where the white dolphins 
belong in the bigger river of things;

I don't know what happened to the porpoises
and the dredged up materials. Stop asking will you.

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This desert white gravel road
blinds you, a fierce sun
in each crunching step.

Nothing prepares you for it:
a colossal teahouse risen
from the bend of a village road.

Waitress in a silk robe
serves you with a brew of tea,
performs calligraphy.

No other guests, just this
white modern space and walls
you never expect. No voices just music.

Big painted lanterns bloom wildly from the ceiling.
The artist stands in the sunspot, fine as porcelain
and mistress of her own fate.

She puts on Guzheng music,
teases your mood,
adjusts her sunglasses.


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Jennifer Wong was born and raised in Hong Kong and now lives in London. She is the author of two poetry collections including Goldfish (2013) and Summer Cicadas (2006), published by Chameleon Press. Her poems have appeared in publications including The Rialto, Warwick Review, Frogmore Papers, Young British Poets for Oxfam by Todd Swift and Kim Lockwood (Cinnamon Press 2012); World Record: An Anthology edited by Neil Astley and Anna Selby (Bloodaxe Books 2012); Prairie Schooner - Fusion edited by Kwame Dawes and Agnes Lam (August 2013). She did an MA in creative writing at the University of East Anglia and is now doing a PhD on Chinese diaspora poetry at Oxford Brookes. In 2014, she received the Young Artist Award (Literary Arts) from the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. 

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