My father has few things to protect.
In our house where laughter flirts
effortlessly with a history
of loneliness, sometimes
edifying each other, as two people
stranded on an island may behave,
the magnificent koi pond is
his honour and glory. Cut in black marble,
water unloosed over imposing
shoulders of an obsidian wall, it seems,
as I grow older, to be more perfect
for my father’s affections
than I can ever be, how virtuous
its talent for turning the commonplace
beautiful. On nights when
my father is somewhere else
I stoop over its edge, cautious as
deer approaching the open, water
so still it could be land, my body
ready to navigate a world he has
carved out of absence and longing,
where we are together again.

by Jerrold Yam
from Intruder (2014)