At the corner,
vendors sell pots of fresh azaleas
in colors of sun and sky.
The smell of jai, a monk’s
vegetarian dish,
with its black noodles
and wood ear fungus,
whisper through petals
of Lunar New Year.
Red banners festoon store fronts, crimson paper with black dancing strokes of curlicue calligraphy.
incense & firecrackers in hand,
dash when they spot police dressed in authority and control.
A warning “look yee, police” spreads like wild fire.
With lightning speed,
firecracker-boys stash
their contraband under hoods
of parked cars.
speed like thunder
and lightning being swallowed
by maw of gyrating dragons.
In storefront windows,
pyramids of oranges
glow to bestow good fortune
for elder immigrants,
many carrying sugary
dreams to become Americans.
Purses of grandmothers,
their tiaras of marcelled hairdos
in place, bulge.
When cackling of lunar new year chicken,
blend with staccato pounding
of drums,
these grandmothers click
their purses open to give “lee see,”
a monetary signal for young ones to chorus greetings in Hoisan wa, “Gung Hee Fot Toy,
Thlin Nin Fai Lauck,
Welcome good fortune,
New Year Happy.”

Flo Oy Wong

January 17, 2023

January 26, 2023

January 29, 2023

March 14, 2024

March 15, 2024

March 19, 2024

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