i. Over Dinner
As if it needs to be said;
you seem to be telling me.
I hesitate. What does it take to decide
to leave for good like that –
like dew sliding off a morning?
‘Emigration’: the word occupies the same
corner of my mind as ‘refugees’, as
‘convicts’, but not you – not you.
As if it needs to be said.
As if we need to say that
we don’t need grief, anxiety or happiness
to hold another person’s hand;
we don’t need to – but how we wish.
ii. Lau Pa Sat: Waiting
This is where I started by waiting,
lingering over the food and neon
while you finished your work
Anticipating your squint.
Curious; I never sensed hunger
in this place.
More a curiosity. Browsing at food.
Surprised at the occasional
pealing of the old bell, breathed
on by the nearby sea.
iii. Fire Works
Fire works in strange ways,
we used to think:
A cough of flame on a
matchstick; sulphur on candles,
tapers, would stand for hope,
represent the dead in a shrine
or your age on your
Fireworks; our first date on
National Day, watching
the lighted sky at Marina
and now here alone,
under that same bridge,
remembering how the paths
of light traced,
wild trajectory of our hearts.
iv. Sydney, Again
This is my second (I keep telling
myself my last) trip to see you.
National Day falls on a Monday,
you see. Yes, it’s a long weekend,
a short break,
another excuse to give, to take:
it’s just a stone’s throw away.
We could visit The Rocks,
or Darlinghurst, and then
dinner where the students go.
Fried kway teow, only
without the cockles:
you liked it when you last came
it’s like the one at Outram Park;
it’s almost the same.
v. Talking After Midnight
“What did you have for dinner?”
“It’s 4 a.m. already.”
“Describe what you remember about me in five words.”
“Bells, wind, neon, candles ... I can’t think of the last one.”
“No, my eyes are not closed.”
“Ella Fitzgerald, one of her albums ... I’ll turn it down.”
“I saw her the other day ... Holland Village.”
“How was your journey back?”
“I fell asleep on the plane. Asked for wine instead of juice.”
“Bought ‘Famished Road’ at the airport; it was on discount.”
“You know, dear ...”
“It’s November already.”
“Yes, I thought it was August, again.”