“The Day They Blocked the Tolo Highway” by Kate Kwan

The Day They Blocked the Tolo Highway
by Kate Kwan

I had a concert to attend
and Kowloon was on the other end.
There was no way to pass
the island shrouded in tears and gas.
Rocks were thrown and cars were burnt.
I used to read books there, now it has turned red.

Colours have different meanings now.
Red is not red and blue is not blue.
Yellow is not the skin on my body.
I have no idea—I’m a Chinese speaking in English.

On TV there was a girl in black and a patrol car.
After a few dumplings and a chocolate bar,
the car turned around. The girl screamed.
In silence, we watched them bleed.
It’s funny I never crossed that bridge.

A day later the road was cleared.
I took a bus to the concert. It smelled
like tears. People lifted five fingers.
In darkness I saw lights shining through.
Though later the news said the fire
had spread to Kowloon. 

How to cite: Kwan, Kate. “The Day They Blocked the Tolo Highway.” Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, 02 Nov. 2020, hkprotesting.com/2020/11/02/tolo-highway/.

Photograph © Oliver Farry.

Kate Kwan was born and raised in Hong Kong. She holds an MA in English Literary Studies from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She sometimes writes poetry and stories just to calm herself. Her works can be found on Instagram.

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