I’ve been trying to eat fewer eggs lately
on the head of your soi at the kai jeow stall
we’d stand in flip-flops hands crumpling green notes
and watch eggs swirl into omelettes in a smoking black wok
and a savoury steam would slip like a whisper into
your elevator, damp and sour, where I stood in the dark
listening to the softness of clothes being hung,
the quivering hum of your electric fan
which settled like dust over your basil-green couch
where your mother lies with glassy eyes
glazed like nails she’d painted that day.
I can smell the bay leaves of your kitchen, can picture
you leaning against the kitchen counter
while I complain about another boy and you say
‘Sometimes you have to drop a bomb for them to get the hint’
and sip on slowly through your kilogram of Yorkshire tea,
gulp down in defiance of the Bangkok heat.
In Melbourne, the flowers must be blooming.
Has age blunted your blades?
I think of the old bamboo trees shrouding the path we used to take
to the riverside where we’d wait
for the boat to carry us home.
Words by Yasmin Linh Nguyen. Art by Nat Cheung.