The first snows arrived with us that winter.
You might not remember.
You slept the whole way through
as our train browsed the North Sea,
entering the sleet from the stops
to the tune of a Nordic intoning,
Perhaps her heart lurches when she discovers
the mistake of the single bedroom. The leg
of a bed gives out that night, and she wakes
to the clatter of one, meeting every piece
of furniture in the room as he crosses
to his lover below.
But don't trust postmodern narrators.
They play omniscient games
to hide their own madness.
Awkward, the winter metaphor,
to say that loneliness soughs
through the body, whistling, wind
opening her through to bone.
Much easier to explain trust, tea
of cloud, desert of water, billowing
through the glass tea pot, though
she sequesters herself like a sachet.
The tip of a triangle holds the whole base together.
In her absence, the hotpot lid falls from grace,
the tupperware picks a fight with the sink,
and the bedroom door breaks
the heart of the apartment.
When she returns, she finds him under
a blanket in the sitting room, unkempt,
unshaven. You look homeless, she says.
(There used to be a picture
at the end of this manuscript.
It's the one you took that late spring,
standing far behind your roommates
as they met the bank of the river.
I have taken that picture out.
It is now where all unsaid words dwell:
in the muteness at the heart of all things.)
He put his face against the window.
He saw the wrongness of it all.
He'd climbed in, once, when he'd forgotten his key,
but the lock opened from the inside then.
Now shelf empty of book.
The sill naked of flower.
The table in the sensible spot,
in the middle, and the family
Arabic instead of Singaporean.
A real family, even.