by | June 28, 2021

In another time my tongue has learnt to trace

around the syllables of your laughter. You will forgive


my blush, forgive the sameness of my body

to yours: both small-breasted,


bleeding. In afternoons, your fingers press miso

into vegetables; the light scurries into my hands,


a tiny animal after rain, throbbing, a pomfret in plastic

forcing water through flesh, knowing


no other way to breathe. Listen –

some nights my half-curled body breaks


into laughter. Perhaps in twenty years I will phone to say

I have learnt how purity smells


like a woman in sleep,

how I could have made you ripple like a bird’s feathers


falling through air. As for now I am the bird. As for now

you are the air. As for now we are that sharp breathless thing that snatched it


out of flight, and as for now we are stumbling back against the wind’s bite

as the sky darkens like a rotting matchstick. But


here, I lean against you, close as sisters,

warming my hands by all the fires


I’ll never light.∎


Words by Alison Clara Tan. Art by Luca Thompson.