Homepage photograph via Flickr by ROSS HONG KONG


Flowers everywhere:
on porcelain,
on bracelets,
on ashtrays,
on silken cravats,
on hems of coats,
on carpets,
on walls,
in meals,
in paintings,
in speeches,
in tea glasses.
Flowers redolent of fish;
flowers uttered from mouths
with coy laughter;
flowers twinkling in the eyes;
flowers swaying in her hands;
flowers gathering for Buddha
as he sits, a lotus ushering the way
in Hong Kong.



Through windows of no glass
in houses that leak water and fish
and legends into the river
in the fishermen village
they look at us
we who arrived just a little while ago
from the top of a skyscraper
in Hong Kong.

We look at them
from a boat
moving in their waters
without asking permission.

They look at us
from leaky houses.

We look to see old tinplates.
They look to see passing clouds.

We look
at their lush lives
across the river.
They look
at our arid lives
crossing the river.

Dunya Mikhail

Dunya Mikhail is an Iraqi-American poet. She has published five books in Arabic and two in English. Her first book in English, The War Works Hard, was shortlisted for the Griffin Prize. Her latest, Diary of a Wave Outside the Sea, won the Arab American Book Award in 2010.