groups of housemaids on an evening outing
compared employers, teenagers roller-bladed.
gathered around litter-bins, smokers exhaled
mushroom-puffs. in the energy of orchard road,
a tourist giraffed his neck to take a picture
of a sculpture fronting a mall -
a necessary souvenir of his unnecessary visit.
standing near, a woman, anxiously awaiting
an unacquainted colleague, was within range
of the man's lens, but not the focus.
soon as he had clicked, a tap on the shoulder.
a passer-by: want me to take a picture of you both?
baffled, his camera taken; led to where
the woman was. at the same time, she,
thinking he was that colleague, stepped forward.
to the samaritan's call, the man turned round;
then both froze and smiled.
the passer-by had thought they were
man and wife and a silly sculpture.
embarrassed laughter, a drink at the sidewalk.
they chatted - he of taiwan and she of k.l.,
here on a conference. then, pauses became longer,
the conversation thinner. there being nothing
more plangent, each left the other two.
the samaritan to further deeds;
the man back to photographing another souvenir
without fetching up another instant wife;
and, she, back in her hotel, was amazed
that marriage was the blinding speed of a shutter.