Lay your tongue flat
On the ground of your oral cavity
Shut your epiglottis and push your diaphragm down a crack
Blow thy gentle breeze
From the depth of your chest:
Crisp, gentle, almost unnoticeable
This is an infant’s call for its mama’s pat
To force out the little bubbles
Tumbling inside its little tummy.
Did I make this sound, mama?
Did I make this sound when you wrapped my old blue shower blanket around me
Stretched my stubby legs, and feigned a frown?
“Eh”, I said, didn’t I?
Did you know I needed a burpie
And patted me on the back?
This is the language of babies
Simple, intuitive, yet mysterious
But surely not you, my dear mama?
You knew everything, once upon a time
An angel, guide and guardian in my eyes
Your capricious temper was the star map I tried to read
Your wildest superstitions my firmest belief
Remember when you cried reading The Jade King?
I watched your tears drop
And a peppered moth emerged
From a jar of maggot-raided raisins.
You flew your baby girl to this island that
effuses greenery, splendor and warmth
knowing you couldn’t set her free;
She needed to learn the hard way
To stretch every strain of silk
And emerge from the cocoon you trapped her in.
It hurts mama
It hurts, it burns, it’s suffocating me!
The traces of you
Wove me inside a sticky spider web
Laid me on a porcelain plate.
I tried to escape,
Only to feel it closing up on my neck;
I tried to shout,
Only to hear all the fear ballooning into
A soft, elusive, helpless murmur that floated
“Eh, eh, ehhh—”
Painfully I learnt
To shape jerking emotions into pretty, sparkling bows called “praises”
To stuff mayhems into a teddy bear called “opinions”
To shunt doubts from my insides and let kindness in
But whenever I hear your voice
See your smile
Feel your embrace
This sound slides down my tongue
And jumps right into you.
With every goodbye
Comes a further departure from my past
I see the traces of you
Burning into ashes
Into a phoenix that carries me
Soaring me higher, higher…