Sonnets for Singapore
upon homecoming: "ee-oh. you've lost weight. again!" (grandma)
and more besides. a heart for maisonettes
in the post, with maps of amenities,
walking distance. strays fed by night. cassettes.
an eye for lizard's eggs, shrines set in trees
or rollaway coins lost in monsoon drains.
linen like flags left out to dry. a taste
for boutique shophouses on one-way lanes
with overwrought windows. stomach for haste,
storms the lengths of strides. short confidences,
briefer tempers. the nerve to navigate
wedding dinners and new names of places.
an ear for dialect, sung or sworn. but weight?
felt, not seen. that which sets one gently down,
sometimes called gravity. more often: ground.
to weigh oneself, place one's self teetering
in the balance, among no less than clouds,
takes more than a little gall. supposing
one makes the mark. the family is proud:
high-flyer. there are congratulations,
cards. friends that come to visit. and if not?
the same, but one alights on these customs
with less abandon. none of it will last –
one lands, in the end – and yet nothing nulls
the fear, not of height but economy
as though farther, rather narrower aisles
would make for a flight of lesser degree.
excess baggage. waving hands at the door
have lifted one weightless from shore to shore.
light as rain. above our small city storms
cumulate on cats' feet, arrive and leave.
here they are allowed to fall without form,
again and again, loud with their beliefs
in other places where streets run with wet
and do not teem. there they spend better parts
of years, returning in august beset
with light and thunder. on annual charts
many show up as first-timers. others,
having wept the bulk of cold wind or sleet
over worse seas, are leaner than at first.
each after each they earth, cross-legged, sit
to tell the stories of their becoming.
as if a storm's heart were a weathered thing.
By Theophilus KwekQLRS Vol. 14 No. 1 Jan 2015