Poem: The Colours of Fortune

By Linda McQuarrie-Bowerman

Poem: The Colours of Fortune

It was years ago, the ship sailing us slowly

into a fragrant harbour vibrating with red lanterns

and slender girls with black, blunt-cut hair, strolling

with boys just as pretty. You, a marble god

browned from the south china sea, levitating

with excitement at your first time. For hours we

walked streets sliced by alleyways, serried

with neon-fronted shops, air spiced with ginger and clove.

Open-top sight-seeing buses and beggars

vied for the tourist dollar as warm rain fell

and lovers huddling in corners held their faces

close together, illuminated by smartphone light.


Waiting for the tram to Victoria Peak

we ate melting ice cream with plastic spoons

and laughed as an old woman, her palms upturned, whispered

I tell your future; scribbled on the paper scrap

she pressed into your hand: McDonald’s 10pm.

We perched ourselves above a still unbridled city,

drinking wine, eating pale pink kimchi, and decided

not to go, later wondering if we should’ve.

The next day in Kowloon, you bought a white coat,

wrapping me in its bulk when the midday temperature

dropped like a dead bird and a cold wind,

shooing wooden junks across the harbour’s skin,

hissed its warning.


Linda McQuarrie-Bowerman

Lake Tabourie NSW


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