Second Letter to Mama
Dear Mama, you are standing by the stove
and I am standing on the chair by the stove
as the rice rises warmly in the clay pot
the soy sauce stains it a chestnut brown
shiny as enamel with oil.
And the rain outside and the trees outside
are papaya trees, and their tiny flowers,
male, female, let out a scent
honey in water, with the swift
hard breaths of rainwater darts.
The puddles on the ground are Earl Grey tea,
Mama’s tea, taken with condensed milk
in a pot in the fridge, unstuck with the
pluck of the magnet. My hair is short,
glossy like the rice and the rain.
This poem has been translated into Chinese, inspired a painting by my mother (above) and a music composition for voice and violin by Koh Chengjin (debuting at the Loke Cheng Kim Foundation Scholarship dinner 2018)
(self-translated, edited by Chen Bo)