Perhaps A Second Sun
by Tammy Ho Lai-Ming

There was no poetry today.
I had dog-eared pages in Autumn Journal
to read to you but you chose wine.
You insisted on telling me its aroma – lemon and berries.
I asked: If you don't have the words,
can you smell the scents?

I take note of your wise words:
the small liquor details one learnt
must not be rote-memorised and departed as eternal,
universal truths.

Still, remember:
This will all pass, like alcohol eventually evaporates.
You are not that good; you aren't that romantic.
You stole my ripped stockings for souvenirs.
Your bed sheet, every time, is the same blue.

…. You are now the only proper noun I care.

Morally speaking, one woman's boyfriend
can only be another's nobody. And so I've now returned
to my own home after an afternoon
in your cocoon-shaped room.

When staring at my bookshelves,
I know: my books and yours, with or without inscriptions,
will not bookend together, will never form a conversation.

The rain outside was peanut-heavy and bright.
We heard it, didn't we, this afternoon? Splashing on the ground.
We weren't imagining. How absurd, I thought
every time there must be a weather event.
Perhaps a second sun will appear in the sky,
if I go to your place again. I can better see your face,
flustered between my stiffened knees.


Tammy Ho Lai-Ming is a Hong Kong-born writer currently based in London, UK. She is a founding co-editor of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. More at www.sighming.com.

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