Cheng Tim Tim

Winter Now, Hong Kong
after Tung Ming-Chin's “The Birth of a New Hero” (2008)


It’s always 6am they come at you,
heavy with another dawn declared done.
Searchlight breaks into households
to stand in for the unabashed sun.

It’s time to cherry-pick, Hong Kong,
every ungodly overspill.

                                        The rest of us
never wake up anew and newsless, often
superstitious about the arrival of words
to bring home who’s gone, that acute

quiet baked in our daily bread,
our bite-sized offering.


Sometimes, we enter a room and forget
why we're there. Blanked out a few seconds,
we’re sent messages

                    down a corridor of contacts,
not quite returning the original room.

I couldn’t bring myself to dissuade you
from the birth of a hero, nor could I
bring myself to dispute

                    some notion of ‘life goes on’.
This is not the hour for costless nicety.

This is the hour to make room
for the honesty of palms,
tucking out of a sleepless blanket

          to breathe warmth to a frozen face.



Cheng Tim Tim is a teacher and a poet born in Hong Kong to a Hokkien family. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, The Offing, SAND Journal, Cordite Poetry Review, among others. She is one of the co-founding editors of EDGE: HKBU Creative Journal. She believes in music that heals and provokes.