‘It’s just a piece of pottery’
he said, flicking ash into the little bowl.
Blue and white, it was pretty
and she said it was old,
‘Absolutely not to be used as an ashtray.’
In a blue and white world
little children play, pigtails swinging.
Stones thrown might distract them,
not telephones ringing.
He imagines that a father buried this bowl with his son.
It might be his best rice dish in the after world.
Diggers make the earth move for a Disney theme park.
Unearthed jars and bowls bring in the traders,
all flesh to hungry sharks.
He inhales smoke, and a scent of earth.
The father would want the bowl left
where it laid for three hundred years.
He doesn’t want to know how she got it
or how much she paid.
He exhales in slow curls.
‘It’ll do as an ashtray,’ he mutters.
‘It’s probably Ming,’ she shrieks. ‘Ming! You idiot.’
God, he was dim.
Published in the collection Raincheck Renewed
(Chameleon Press, 2004)
Dealing in Numbers
This is an unlucky number
It has an unfortunate sound
The same as death
Yes, possibly yours.
I’m not superstitious
It’s a connotation that’s all
Yet I won’t carry
Four notes in my wallet.
Four coins, four dollars, four pounds
four pence, four renminbi
I won’t order four desserts
Or plant four trees.
Despite the last supper
Thirteen is my lucky number
It doesn’t appeal to most
I step forward to claim it.
Adopting this with zeal
I lived for years at No. 13
In Chung Hom Kok
I’m not superstitious.
So why not 4?
Wait a moment
13 is 4.
Say eight quick.
Say seven, say nine. Drop a line.