Slouched, shoulders of sixty years,
backs crooked: little things of the past
can always bend a man forward.
Wives with their sepia breasts, and the days
cents held values, all moved along
           with an airport past.
On bollards no longer used, they polish
their fishing rods and think of the bait
every day by the Kowloon City Ferry Pier.

Crinkled as the harbor surface,
squirming like worms in a toolbox,
reveries of the sixties
           can now be anything.

Memories hooked, precision attached
to the fiberglass, they are no amateurs,
           and they flinch from time to time.
Practice allows imperfections.
The art of letting go is learnt
not by the angle (or the distance)
a quartered worm is slung to the water,
but from a clenched fist to relaxed fingers,
           expecting nothing in return.

What kind of fish will take such bait?
Who will eat a fish from the Victoria Harbor
           just to reclaim a digested past?

Marco Yan, a Hong Kong-based writer who enjoys re-discovering the little things in life. Even though it may be a
depressing task with nothing in return, the process alone makes his eyes fresh again. His short stories and poems
have appeared in literary journals and magazines including Asian Cha and 34th Parallel.


Forgetting is inevitable. As we live, making new memories, we have some old ones drowned. I no longer remember much of my childhood and the time wasted with my high school friends, I smile when I am asked about the last time I genuinely laugh, and I feel uneasy about picturing myself being forgotten by my future self. Well, as least things in the present tense are good. Re-reading the poem, I think I would eat the fish from the Victoria Harbor, if I managed to reel in one.



Copyright 2009