seven years old
between the banisters
her face is a blank sheet
below – snarling, hysterics,
a door slams closed – for good.
a sheet of white paper
folds length on length.
this makes a crease.
unfold, turn a right angle,
she is seventeen now,
a go board of hidden wrinkles.
maybe a boy will press his palms to her,
navigate her secret cartography
with his thumbs –
bring edges to edges,
stroke hills to rise, press down valleys,
then with a swift twist and pinch,
gather the corners into a
twenty-seven, and you see her in the train,
all crisp edges and sharp contours
neatly tucked in.
this is the essential step.
now, gently, firmly, cupped in your palm
use a needle, or a fine pair of tweezers
to unfurl each hidden bud,
to curl each certain leaf.
Joshua Ip has the attention span of a poet and the love for poetry of a Singaporean. He is currently working on censoring his second selection of erotic verse, tentatively titled making love with scrabble tiles.