As the wind rises, I drift, with a twinge of passive
aggression, back to the lost realm of paper kites.
I'm sure, trapped within this vault of childhood
memories, there are bitter scores yet to be settled:
Which of the neighbourhood kids had lunged his kite
against mine, with no provocation as excuse, and
cut it loose from my grasp? My empty-handed defeat
hurt more than the bloodlines that the string, laced
with glue and crushed glass, had carved over my palms.
Just like the many others similarly overcome, my kite
might have vanished into the clouds, or stayed entangled
within high branches didn't Deuteronomy advise
that "his body shall not remain all night upon the tree,
but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day"? Is he
that is hanged or the hangman more accursed of God?
Forty years later, the flight of kites has become much
less militant although, like how commercial airlines
compete in peacetime, different nationalities take pride
in tail insignias and the breadths of wings. What light
is this that makes that kite in the shape of a clownfish
glow an unearthly blue as dusk converts to night?
Even this sense of peace is uneasy maybe I'm again
overthinking: Has the reclaimed land spanned by
Marina Barrage settled sufficiently into solid ground?
And what's real and what's unreal, as Hello Kitty
and Mickey Mouse float in the sky as though
they are in some Miyazaki dreamscape comprising
a giant Ferris wheel, some oversized fake trees, and
an ocean liner propped up by a trio of golden towers?
Wikipedia says, we're at the confluence of five rivers.
I try to compare the art of kite-flying to fishing,
how the attachment to a string binds a person
to a cause whether lofty aspiration or a need
for quiet triumph, the prospect of sustenance.
Then a friend tells me, fishing is a pastime best
enjoyed alone, while launching a kite requires
the aid of an accomplice. I make a mental note
to pen a poem a premeditation that is itself
analogous to both fishing and kite-flying. As the
wind changes, the kites soar or falter, depending
on the sleight of hand. Random children sprint
back and forth upon the grassy roof of the dam,
watched by parents, grandparents myriad lives
tried and tested in time-lapse trickery. Should I
hold on or let go, when the line tugs at me again?