Winter 2007

Table of Contents - Vol. III, No. 4


Poetry    Essays    Fiction    Book Reviews

Tammy Ho Lai-ming


Dinner Table

The two of you bellowed to each other in
fiercest intellectual insults.

An unsuccessful chaperone I was. I shut
my eyes to listen to an orange horse gallop
on, not too clumsily, a bed of golden-
brimmed grass shooting north.

Forks dueled with knives, glasses clinked
and licked. Already? Back to the dining
table, together you laughed, mouths open
wide to park spaceships.

Ever since I used that word, 'love',
both of you repeated it
ad infinitum, adorned with other crude
lexemes, as if all of a sudden a child
was allowed to play with his Dad's


Before My Departure

That day I woke up to find an empty room
without his brown hair and hazel eyes.
The doormat he bought from the former Yugoslavia
was wet. He must have gone out, come back,
and gone out again to buy things for my departure
at noon: chewing gum, earplugs, a James Joyce
novel and three bananas. Why was the sky so hazy,
reminiscent of something tragic and historical?
I wish he was there to make me sizzling hot lemon tea
with ginger, though cereal I could do without.
When he finally came back he barely looked at me.
I thought that was excellent. What a mask
of indifference. Not a hint of sunshine outside?
In silence I couldn't relax my fingers. I wept
instead but I did that in the thick-walled
washroom. The colourful balloon tiles next
to the sink: red, blue, pink and green.
He's not approaching me. He's not listening
to me weep. Remember? The walls were not thin
like papers in a leather-bound Bible.

Who said high-heels aren't good for airports?
Air hostesses wear them all the time. But they
also wear deliberate smiles on their faces; even
sarcastic ones when they think you aren't looking.
That cold and polished hell was the airport: a place
eager to please, more eager to dismiss. He didn't hold
me. Where was he? Now checking the flight number.
Now figuring out the location of the departure gate.
Now he looked at me. Now he looked elsewhere.
I felt clumsy, exiled, redundant. Then I was already
in the line for the security check. One of my books
fell on the floor and I picked it up.


© Tammy Ho Lai-ming


Poetry    Essays    Fiction    Book Reviews

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