No light shines on where mama left her dreams on a rock to dry
Like some rags left unattended and soon forgotten
Or like when sister waited in the quiet school yard staring at the basketball court dripping time and the koi fish swam in circles
There was no change left in her pockets to use the payphone
Because papa is alone in a rented room somewhere
Weeping next to a pile of dirty laundry
Like those debts growing like mould on the leaking ceiling or like
Grandma losing her memory forgetting
You and I on the beach with sand between our toes and a
Universe between us

We left the rusty gates open
Those empty drums and those dogs we neglected to feed
Hot hours spent beside the whirring fan hitting mosquitoes when we thought
Mama really left us
We both got hit twice a week and do you still recall the
Dried up succulents and piles of old newspapers
Some unread like wounds never addressed
And us stagnant in time
Malnourished and hiding in bathrooms or
Taps left running on a Sunday afternoon
When we lie sprawled reading the same book for the tenth time

Trauma lurks like an old injury
You forget often especially when you meet a new boy or can afford a new dress but
Comes and slaps you like an accidental fall on the gravel pavement
When you wait in line bored at the dentist’s.


Artwork by Yeo Tze Yang, “24 Hours”, 2017

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