Rice with Soy Sauce

But a bowl of rice with soy sauce
was your breakfast yesterday.
Colors of foods varied as fate played out
with this resemblance on the table –
Clay-pot sauce poured into brown rice
to disturb every Hong Kong recipe.

A cube of pork oil and a few bowls of rice
warmed the postwar stomach of refugees.
But in the days of excessive nutrients,
it does no more than harm to the heart,
romanticized as a gimmicky nostalgia
of hunger in Cantonese restaurants.

But how can we reminisce about the past
of a lost dish? Let’s rise up and go home,
cook a piece of prose and write it to adapt
to the moody recipe of homesickness.
Affairs of our hearts stream down
as soy sauce soaks the rice. Grains,

each tied against each, breathe the steam
of intimacy. In this narrow kitchen
we hold each other to pass through
and you turn around with a bowl
of rice with soy sauce – a taste
of closeness from home at home.

Chris Song is executive director of the International Poetry Nights in Hong Kong. He won Extraordinary Mention in the Nosside World Poetry Prize from Italy (2013), and he is a recipient of the Young Artist Award in Literary Arts presented by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council.