Yeow Kai Chai
As if nothing’s unwound, the memory’s a one-eyed trickster and all I remember is a vein slit, red flow, staining the white cotton sleeve; the fish head cast aside, eye popped. Her face amplified in fish lens, framed in a half-a-sec freeze. Before every thing is at risk. An accidental tourist chancing upon a perfect photo op, or a cliché set up for effect. “No matter if your heart is true.” No sound even though the labia part, chopper dropped to the floor, an inch short of naked foot. Wash it, disinfected, then slip away, footprints invisible except to the forensic eye; or spill some ink for a feel-good lyric for national intimacy. Likewise, the voyeur stepping out of the mirror, looking back at the inverse: a blade chipped, whose flipper tongue parched, sea spreading under the soles; a primordial sea that links this pronoun to you inside me. Pretend I’m not here. Suckling the finger, the mouth draws a salty river; or in a different book, the suction siphons the pus from the bad cut, the way one would to keep mum. Every thing is reflection, associative and inescapable. Electrified with loss, a vertical breath flashes as long as the umbilical is plugged and we don’t hug. The cursor is one of his names. Life is another. And in the half-lit, flooded kitchen, you flush the noise down the sink with clear tap water; then resume cleaving–chicken heart, wings, skinned breast, guts laid out on wooden block, words as cinéma vérité propped for hardcore romance. The rest to digest and pass out in the loo, away from the discrete stage. Two days’ worth of clothes wrung, pegged on bamboo hung parallel as mnemonic on screen. Slack complaint, or wet nothing: Cut to his cheap tee-shirt’s blue running, dripping onto tiles scrubbed clean of oil from last night’s feast whipped up for ancestors without faces across the sea, inked on an idyllic isle exactly like this one. So no ghost or human, invoked or rinsed, would slip, blood-thirsty, soon surfeit on confession (innards, body parts and surrogate lexicon); before time and tide take over–moon, white from afar and round as forbidden metonymy, the light-stealer until the morning hunger prick.
by Yeow Kai Chai
from Pretend I’m Not Here (2006)