China Haikou Century Bridge Night
A Street in Haikou
by Don Kingfisher Campbell

my love records
from her cellphone
a 15-second video
and pushes send

a blue shirted florist
sitting on a lime
green plastic stool

arranges his
just watered
plants for sale
on the sidewalk

where an orange
bucket sits full
of grouped flowers

his parked van
with an open
rear hatch fronts
a row of curbside

one cyclist
on this sunny palm
tree lined avenue

wears a yellow helmet
and sky blue soccer shirt
as he buzzes past

a multi-story tower
of residences
in the background

the unsurprising
power pole strings
overhead in a clear sky

cars, SUVs, and vans
line the parking lot
of this mini-mall
where leaves catch sun

and green framed open
double glass doors
lead to a faux
marble tiled floor

a potted elephant
eared plant and a
waiting green desk

sports a bright
orange tray and
an empty black
high backed
swivel chair

under a row of
ceiling hung
cone shaped
white spotlights

her friend with a blue
mask on her chin and
fake fire and smoke dress

crouches over a printed
paper while a young short
cropped black haired man
looks across at her as

she signs the mortgage form
on a round glass table
with a wicker base

my fiancée is outside
waiting to walk with her
to the bus stop where
they travel through traffic
to blaring pop music

could be Long Beach
if I didn’t know she is
7000 miles away as we

wait for two governments
to agree on when she
can safely return to me

PHOTO: Haikou, Hainan, China, and Century Bridge by Gui Yongnian, used by permission.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Haikou is the capital of the Chinese province of Hainan, a group of islands in the South China Sea. Haikou is situated on Hainan Island, the largest of the group. During 2015 and 2016, large-scale city improvements took place as part of a province-wide initiative called “double create”– described by government sources as a campaign to create a cleaner, more civilized city. The initiative focused on traffic and commerce, but has also improved the overall appearance of the city, tackling air pollution from industry emissions, and aiming to ensure the safety of drinking water sources. (Source: Wikipedia)


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: A place I have never been, except through the eye of my fiancée’s cell phone…

IMAGE: Still from cell phone footage shot in Haikou, China.


Don Kingfisher Campbell has an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, is listed on Poets & Writers, founder of POETRYpeople youth writing workshops; publisher of Spectrum magazine; and leader of the Saturday Afternoon Poetry reading series in Pasadena, California. He has taught Creative Writing in the Upward Bound program at Occidental College and for 36 years has been a Guest Teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District. Want a poet in your classroom, library, bookstore, coffeehouse, or event? Please email: