Paul Tan (b. 1970)
Climbing into mother’s head:
I fear as you scrape leftover
rice grains into the bin: are bits of the
earthenware plate corroding away,
entering your digestive tracts?
I worry that your girlfriend will
condescend or feel awkward here,
that you sleep with your restless
head in the wrong direction.
I fret that the pharmacy’s eyewash
you buy may pollute your pupils,
that your boss overworks you,
that you visit whores overseas.
My sleep is mostly light—
ears pricked to hear the sounds
of the house, footfalls and flushings—
my heart hums like a regular fridge.
by Paul Tan
from Driving Into Rain (1998)