I don’t have any specific memories
from when I was a child in Hong Kong,
just scraps of phrases and old photographs.
Scents and flavours, like the chocolate candy
filled with strawberry bubbles.
I do remember
when I ate it for the first time, again.
How its sweetness transported me back
to the green house in its heydays,
lychee trees in the gardens.
Two great-aunts at my beckoning.
The ice cream I would fetch twice a day,
I used to know my way around the village’s tricky alleyways.
Though in the early Summer heat the ice was more welcome,
it is the chocolate that unlocked my memories
and got me back to that patch of ground in the New Territories.
Though not a golden pastry in the shape of a boat,
not a madeleine, but a pearl in the mouth of the river delta,
I now rediscover treasures I never knew I lost.
Like that walk on the piers at night
I only know because of the picture at my grandparents’ place
on the nightstand next to my bed.
These photographs of old tell stories, show our care.
I discovered my great aunt kept a picture of my little sister,
finding her in the small red house brought back to me
feelings of being home amidst a family of strangers.
Come back again, she said.
And despite our linguistic distances,
I promised her