Poem: Tammy Lai-Ming Ho

A Sligo Poem

Oysters are not available
in town. I go to the supermarket
to buy bacon-flavoured chips.
Brussel sprouts are popular

in Belgium. The living room
is over-heated on New Year’s Eve
with logs
from deceased trees. Screens

of varying sizes faintly glow. Why
are the photo frames on the walls
tilted? I intend to record this trip
in fragmented

lines. I never go out
barefoot. Waking up at night,
I search for the closed
curtains. Everything

is true, nothing is significant.
The collocation of chairs
is full of sleep. Frosted windows
invite imaginary ghosts

and faces. Shops open
at random hours.
The fire burns,
and we burn with it. Mine

is a cosy
ethnicity, at times graceful
and at times full of sorrows.
Every translation sparks

another translation. Two
cushions away, a man
calls a restaurant to cancel
a lobster reservation. The Christmas

tree is full of ornaments
from all over the world and the tiny
light bulbs glimmer
in momentary wonder. After offering

a criticism one must also remember
to give a suggestion. A book
about repetition falls from the sofa
to the floor, more than once.


Tammy Lai-Ming Ho is the founding co-editor of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, the English Editor of Voice & Verse Poetry Magazine, and an editor of the academic journals Victorian Network and Hong Kong Studies. She has edited or co-edited eight volumes of poetry, fiction and essays, including Desde Hong Kong (2014), We, Now, Here, There, Together (2017), and Twin Cities (2017). Tammy’s translations have been published in World Literature TodayChinese Literature TodayDrunken Boat and Pathlight and by the Chinese University Press. Her first poetry collection is Hula Hooping (2015) and she has books forthcoming from Delere Press, Math Paper Press, Palgrave and Springer. She is an associate professor at Hong Kong Baptist University and she serves as the President of PEN Hong Kong and a Junior Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of the Humanities. She is a recipient of the Young Artist Award in Literary Arts, presented by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council.

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