For the first time in years, I am picking
apart old boxes of used gloves, newspapers
only my father used to read. National Stadium
Officially Closes. Last Lap For Buona Vista
Swimming Complex. The words crumple the way
memory is: folded, then refolded to make way
for something new. Alive, like rats, gnawing at
the base of potato batteries I made at twelve
now disfigured with hair around their leftover ears.
Beside it, a bicycle helmet I no longer fit into
and am no longer fit enough to teach my son how
to use. No matter, my husband says. If he wants to,
we could always buy a new one. And I hold in
a cough, hold our faces towards the lone, hanging
bulb that has since evicted light from its home.
Watch the waning moon uproot the quiet from
our neighbour's lawn. The city chapel. Road
signs and road rage and the roads that will be built.
These are familiar sounds: the construction building
to a crescendo; applause for a mall opening in place
of what was once familiar. So I take in the stale air,
let it rust homeless against my tongue torn between
moving and staying. Watch the rats scuttle away into
the frayed wall that will be torn down soon for newer
rats to come. So I take my husband's hand, dust
the starving box off my lap and leave for the dust
to settle in again.
By Conan TanQLRS Vol. 21 No. 3 Jul 2022