At the end of autumn
the leaves on your dress fall one last time & my eyes
simmering jelly in their casings
listen to your nightmare of me drowning you while you struggled only half-
heartedly thinking why not & me nodding of course
& later that day I nod in that exact way reminding you of how you were
probably already grey & waterlogged in the universe of your dream
& how there must have been some poor sweet child-and-ex-wife-and-sister-and-
hooker currently sharing that fate
as we fall upon each other heaving making the last sounds of autumn till the
breeze fades & we compact like leaves & rest
Everyone’s put a lid on this world.
My brown limbs mirror the soil
to kiss your feet, to join my summit to your root
& make my breath
Above the fog the squirrels & sparrows agree,
perched the way God must perch, void-eyed,
though I suppose they do not judge me
for the remains of fine principles
smeared across my hands.
. . . . . . . . . . *
I cannot tell if it is you or the island
that is kissing the possible into my eyes
& slipping my soul into my pocket
so anytime I might taste it—
Now it seems I am one of the sparrows
flitting between branches;
is this an ancient tree
or a bronze chandelier?
. . . . . . . . . . *
I know your name now, Metasequoia:
once thought extinct, you waited with us
to die. As seasons unfasten
& embrace, you will not have long to wait.
So when you are ushered away
from this curdling earth,
take me with you;
I would have myself reconstituted too.
*Nami Island, South Korea, houses hundreds of Metasequoia trees, a species once thought extinct.
The particles of me
The particles of me bleed caution
into a crazy wakefulness
demanding you; your blood
stronger than all my bone
rooting sweet all that I’ve grown—
I’ve trussed up my fingers into treble-cleffs
trying to water a blushing stalk
with veins not wired any more.
& in the garden that comes of you
particles of me prance as confused dirt
into a stream of swollen joy—
for sentiment has always been
that no prophet calls
his greatest tales his own.
David Wong Hsien Ming was born in Singapore, discovered poetry as a child at a Sunday lunch and pursued honors in Philosophy at the University of Melbourne, reading poetry at Rutgers University New Brunswick along the way. His poems have appeared in Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Ceriph, Eye to the Telescope, Unshod Quills and earned an Honorable Mention in Singapore’s Golden Point Award 2011.
–Art by Diana Cretu
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