Cyril Wong (b. 1977)
an excerpt from The Dictator's Eyebrow
I’m the real hero of this story,
a fact requiring little reiteration,
since I spring back up faster than
any fall; breathlessly, without
effort, regardless of panic or
my wife’s guarded fears. The rest
of the face might falter, but I rein it
all in with a surgeon’s precision,
restoring dignity and calm, and not
without a quiver of irony.
I’m surely in good company
with Mao’s pate,
all the very best of them.
Still, it needs to be said: my other
is my better half, who would rather
stand unnoticed, who cheers for me
from across the glabella under that mask
of stoic indifference. And it’s her
stillness that gives me pause
to load up on courage and momentum
to pounce like a panther upon
another strategy for betrayal, a well-timed
move in an unremitting war of influence.
You peer up at my wife and me
in the glass after brushing your teeth
and recall how we became upside-down
grins after you shot through the ranks
to where you are now in parliament.
Smug parents, we beam at what you will
become (remember, the road’s unending
and requires defending). You caress
one abundant eyebrow and then the other;
your best assets, you don’t need reminding.
by Cyril Wong
from The Dictator's Eyebrow (2013)