I have a second life in present-day Botwood
because grandmother was there
an icon for us to visit
the Botwood Mural Arts Society

aims to resurrect the town through art
painters from all around are invited
to create murals upon old buildings
an echo of the past preserved

Botwood is a shrinking community
attempting to rise from the ashes
as a wonderland for tourists
and soar to heights of glory again

if only it could transform to the paradise of its past
when the watery nest of a harbour
filled with Chinese immigrants
and local loggers living their lives

COVID slowed Botwood’s rebirth
inhibiting travel and tourism
freezing the funeral of an icon
a Chinese immigrant—my grandmother

but when surrendering her ashes
atop her famous store, we saw those murals
heard of jigsaw puzzles and book spin-offs
my second home will be reborn in time


photograph of 19th centyr building in Newfoundland

Tilley House by Ting Ting Chen


Listen to Melissa Wong read “Botwood.”


About Melissa Wong

Melissa Wong is a freelance writer and a Memorial University alumnus with a BA (Hons) and a diploma in journalism. Melissa’s short story “Chirp” won the 2021 Icelandic Festival of Manitoba Poetry and Prose contest and was published in the festival program. Her work has been also published with The Newfoundland Herald, Truth Serum Press, Pure Slush, Applebeard, the Icelandic Connection Magazine, and Engen Books. Her latest story, “Earrings,” was published in Pure Slush’s anthology Growing up. Born and raised in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Melissa spends most of her free time reading, playing the flute, and painting. Please view her portfolio at

About Ting Ting Chen

Ting Ting Chen is a Newfoundland-based photographer with a PhD in Folklore. She came to Newfoundland in 2018, and has found both her muse and home. Her photography showcasing the beauty of Newfoundland has won multiple prestigious international photography awards. She has also been featured in CBC radio broadcasts and news reports for her photography works. Tilley House is situated in the community of Elliston, NL, which used to be called Bird Island Cove. Built as a shop in 1858, Tilley House was traditionally used as a landmark by fishermen. The Tilley family kept detailed account books which not only provide a nominal census of the community but also reflect daily life in the 19th century. Tilley House has witnessed the prosperity and hardship of this fishing community during the past two centuries and was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1985.

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