Vida Chu

July in Hong Kong, stormy weather.
Every day ninety degrees
with severe thunderstorms.

I sweat inside rain gear,
steamy like a sauna.
Acquaintances gone vacationing,
relatives long deceased.

Gold jewelry and Chinese medicine shops
pop up at every corner.
Loud Mainlanders rolling new suitcases
crowd the streets. Only the old bakery
and the Cantonese-speaking school children
assure me I am back in my childhood home.

The stormy weather encourages
no tram ride to Victoria peak,
no hike on Dragon Back trail,
no swim at golden beaches,
no bargaining in night markets and Ladies’ streets,
no visits to Wong Tai Sin Temple and the Big Buddha.

Instead of noisy restaurants and shopping malls
I spend a day in the New Territories’ Heritage Museum
among dioramas of traditional villages,
urban New Towns, Cantonese Opera Halls,
Chinese brush paintings and calligraphies,
an unexpected exhibition of Bruce Lee.

Who would have guessed this famous Kung Fu Master
was a Philosophy major, wore contact lenses
for public appearances and all film shoots,
and loved to cha-cha?

On the ninth day as I am heading for the airport,
the sun breaks out.
The skyline of Hong Kong beckons.



About the author:

Vida Chu grew up in Hong Kong, came to America for college, and stayed. She has lived in Princeton for over fifty years. Her poems have appeared in Kelsey Review, Princeton Arts Review, US 1 Worksheets, and The Literary Review. She has children stories in Cricket Magazine and Fire and Wings.

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