Secret Manta

raglady holds in her hands
a large black plastic bag,
scuttles between overflowing bins,
some, upturned, roll
a rodent meanwhile naps
hidden under a discarded pink
polyester pullover—its tail


enshrined in mind
film poster for awakenings:
robert de niro poised on tip of a spit
hands outstretched
everything else’s white heaven


she scrapes at her calloused feet
midday sun glares down
so she shifts to a shady spot
between familiar bins,
hands welded to her bag

& when her eyes close,
dream unfurls upon her, dark-magnificent,
a polythene manta ray
          gliding through her sleep

by Yeow Kai Chai
from Secret Manta (2001)


SELECTED POEMS: "August Moon" >