Eggs and tea

by | April 3, 2021

(For Jessica)


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.