by Paola Caronni
Like totem poles on sacred land,
big yellow umbrellas stand fixed
on the Mediterranean shore.
They stand in rows
with their extended welcoming ribs,
and flutter in the salty breeze
or mid-year drizzle.
tussle in the subtropical summer dampness
of the stifled Fragrant Harbour.
Teargas and pepper spray
lower their proud ferrules.
clatter their vulnerable canopies.
Umbrellas once bright yellow
now black or
blood slowly dripping from
an open wound that won’t heal
or be sewn together again—
from swollen blinded eyes.
Umbrellas like disfigured totem poles
left stranded with
no land to be anchored to
no restoring rain to embrace
no sun above the horizon
How to cite: Caronni, Paola. “Other Umbrellas.” Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, 29 Aug. 2020, hkprotesting.com/2020/08/29/other-umbrellas/.
Photograph © Oliver Farry.
Paola Caronni hails from Italy and has been living in Asia for over twenty years. She works as translator, interpreter, tutor of Italian language and Vice-Director and editor of the online lifestyle and culture magazine Ciao Magazine. Paola holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Hong Kong and an MA in English Language and Literature from the University of Milan. Her poems have been published in anthologies, such as Desde Hong Kong: Poets in Conversation with Octavio Paz, Quixotica: Poems East of La Mancha, Mingled Voices, Poems from the Lockdown, and appeared—among others places—in Voice and Verse Poetry Magazine, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, New Asian Writing, From Whispers to Roars, and Fearsome Critters.