Angel Chow


Hong Kong

Unexpectedly she took my hand,
followed the lines beyond my grasp,
refused to tell what she traced there;
with sleight of hand to hand
palmed my future with a palmist’s trick.
When pressed she only smiled
and would not tell,
turned down my palm and looked away.

Not Chinese, not superstitious,
not burdened with her history
I shrugged off seeds of doubt,
soon forgot, enjoyed my Chinese interlude;

but when the bad luck came
I looked into her eyes again,
jasmine incense stained my mind
with the jaundice of understanding
and in red temples flew, like pale moths,
dumb messages to the dead.


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