f o u r  p o e m s



He is my first cousin—

In Chinese terms my brother—

Firmly and comfortably middle-aged now

With a business a Canadian passport

A housewifely wife two young daughters

His gait betrays the beginnings of a paunch.


At the funeral he sat in the second row

Behind the immediate family, but up close.

When was it that I last saw him?

A birthday party? New Year festival?

It had to be two or three years ago.

His proximity seemed unreal, his

Familiar face vaguely unfamiliar.

Our lives are parallel lines now

Running close, contact denied.


Then he touched his gold-rimmed spectacles

Eyes slightly misty.

          I turned away.

‘Eighth Uncle was the one,’ he said,

Who bought me my first pair of glasses.’

I saw again

          the quiet neglected boy

Looking at a new world through his glasses

Taken to a new school by Eighth Uncle

With unvoiced promises

          of fees and books and other necessities

Knowing Eighth Uncle was not wealthy.

He is my first cousin—

In Chinese terms my brother.

Father saw to it

          that it was so.



Eva Hung



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