“Roads ∙ Square ∙ Roads (道路 ∙ 廣場 ∙ 道路)” by Stuart Lau 劉偉成, translated by Karen Hung Curtis

☂☂☂☂☂
Roads ∙ Square ∙ Roads
by Stuart Lau 劉偉成, translated by Karen Hung Curtis

ROADS ∙ SQUARE ∙ ROADS

When roads are opened by umbrellas
into a square
cars stop to erase our memory
with their wheels
we look for the rain we’ve been praying for
the heart of the square has no centre
our armour, take roots in dreams
the rain we prayed for are poured into water barriers

The city ceases to float, time reclines
to seal our shadows
silently in history
giving us space to breathe
the rain we prayed for hits the corners of our eyes
and washes away the sting of pepper spray

We absorb sunlight
turn it into waves, we discover
the square has never been flat
as our power quietly disseminates
the rain we prayed for cumulates
in doled bottled supplies

The square reverts to roads
gradually, our unshaven faces
bold as bright flowers
from then on with
wide-eyed smiles imprinted on our masks
edges of our spectacles crystallised with dancing crow’s feet
we can, if we want, open our
umbrellas into the morning light
frumpy towels become fashionable
with the fusty tagline”Wish You A Good Morning”, tea and cigarette fumes rise
as we start our wheels and wrap up our shadows

The rain we prayed for
transpires into a thick sheen on the snake plant leaves
fighting for survival
in the cracks of the road

道路 ∙ 廣場 ∙ 道路

當道路給雨傘
撐闊成廣場
車輪不再甩開記憶
我們祈求的雨哪裏去了?
廣場的胸襟裏沒有觀望的焦點
陽光笑著沈澱,抗爭的裝備
都鬆弛下來,在夢中生根
我們祈求的雨給注到水馬裏去

城市不在漂浮,時間躺下來
瀝青起我們的身影
沈默在歷史中
便得著呼吸的空餘
我們祈求的雨,往眼角俯衝
帶走胡椒莽撞的辛辣

我們吸收陽光
化合成浪頭,原來
廣場從來沒有平坦過
我們祈求的雨累積成
一樽樽分派的物資

廣場變回道路
冉冉中,一把吧鬃毛
持續賁張如光明的花
從此
口罩可拓印出張眼的微笑
目鏡結晶著魚尾紋的款擺
傘,只要願意,便可開出
仰望的晨光
土氣的毛巾變成時髦
不變的是上面那句
祝君早安,升起了茶煙
推動車輛,捲收身影

我們祈求的雨
蒸騰成那路隙中求存的
虎尾蘭葉上憨厚的油光

Photograph © Oliver Farry.

Stuart Lau (poet) is a Hong Kong poet, essayist and critic. He has published five poetry collections, the most recent How Broad Are the Plank Roads of Sunshine 陽光棧道有多寬won the 13th Hong Kong Biennial Award for Chinese Literature. He is a publishing manager at Oxford University Press (China) and was a resident at the University of Iowa International Writers Program in 2017.

Karen Hung Curtis (translator) is a writer and translator from Hong Kong. Her translations of Dorothy Tse, Hon Lai-chu and Ge Liang have appeared in Read Paper RepublicShe was a recipient of the Luce Foundation Chinese Poetry and Translation Fellowship in 2018, and is currently an MFA candidate at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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