Swing
Queer issues in Singapore
Edwin.jpg

ache

there’s that word again, 
the one that lingers. 
ache
it catches in your throat, 
sticks in the back
before you expel, end. 
months ago i would (should) have known the terminology, 
linguistic language to pin that sound down. 
literature, just as interesting, 
bound herself to you in a way 
you cannot shake, even today. 
today you found the playlist of music you made to let a streetcar named desire fill the room, and with the ease of inhaling (now), 
the longing for blanche, a sadness-reverence looking at gillian anderson. 
here i think of you, mind you, briefly, 
and in between too many commas you
are beside me. 
i never wanted you here, 
i don’t quite want that now either. 
i believe in an afterlife so i naturally wonder what my grandfather thinks of all this, 
what he thinks of my mother who loves him all too much, 
and me who inherited a problem with loving. 
i love you, i mail upwards 
(postal because you helped mom with her stamp collection,
because you loved us all without hesitation), 
and there is the ache again. 
if you feel anything at all i think you would empathise with that. 
the you is inconsistent, 
i hope you’ll forgive me. 
my therapist told me that forgiveness is just about giving away your right to get even. 
but that, you must be clear, 
does not leave you hate-less, meek, without longing or ache. 
that is supposed to be a justification, clean comfort –
it is also a sentence (she said the jury’s out!). 
but i hope to be self-aware enough to feel the ache, 
open a note and write down some poetry. 
ah, for pity’s sake, i’ll hope you forgive me that. 

Nikki cannot stop talking about local literature. She loves hearing people tell their stories, and drinks lots of tea when trying to pen down her own.