I learnt my first 儿歌 over a
long-distance phone call as 妈妈
sat under the southern cross,
halfway around the world.
she sang about 一闪一闪的
小星星and I wonder if she
ever wished upon these flickering
lights to 再次 share the same sky
with the mother and daughter
she was forced to leave behind.
almost two decades later,
three generations 团聚在,
the same roof 下, but my
memories of 金色的 stars
cast across 陌生的 sunset
have become hazy, even
in slumber, my anglicised tongue
has become better at tying
knots into cherry stems than
imitating my grandmother’s songs.
one day, a lonely boy
builds a dingy raft
out of empty vodka bottles
and sets out to sea, so he
does not have to see
straight, ever again.
he prays for merciless waves to
crash and roar, overwhelm the silence
of strangers on the shore too afraid of
getting their toes wet, he wants to drown out
the whispers of wayward ghosts luring
him into the murky depths of despair.
maybe the wind can carry his listless
body to shore or at worst salt-water can
hug his lungs and sting the open wounds
of his heart like hickeys or lighting,
forecasting the long overdue iris rain.