On the backstreet home, watch out for black
cats stalking your footsteps. Don’t step in
puddles with your high-heeled horseshoes:
the clack draws all sorts of bad folk. Knock
on wooden doors along the way – let them
know you are there, once, or twice:
unexpected deaths come in threes.
Ring every bell – let chimes cover you,
light the path home, keep watch.
Needless to say, avoid the ladders.
They take you nowhere useful enough,
except upwards. Pennies on roads are
only shiny traps – do not stop to pick
them up – they are not worth your time.
Likewise, check both ways when you cross
your fingers, or your reflection in street
windows. Shatter them if necessary.
Take a photo if you must, to save your soul.
Let the itch of your palm be a prayer that you’re home.
Salt the door. Let relief open like an umbrella.
Valen Lim is a member of Singapore-based writing collective /Stop@BadEndRhymes (/S@BER). His poems have been published in various SingPoWriMo anthologies, as well as Quarterly Literary Review Singapore. He can be found online at https://uglystage.com.