Because desire is the ugliest cassock. Because you learn its taste, not its look, so you learn with your tongue. Because you first learn to kneel in its chapel. As alms, the lemon-rind, the seeds you didn’t plant, sealed in an envelope. In the halls, you learn to swallow them, lick the rind. Come, feel the sting. It is the sign of your cross, the trace of her back in the night. It is the pause before every prayer. It is fruit and feeling and her face on the last Sunday morning. Give unto Desire a piece of yourself. Look for what you haven’t learnt: the necessity of being locked in a storm, the clumsy embrace, the quiet. How in the confession booth, you will admit to various sins jointly and severally. Father, last week I drowned myself in the river. I ruined something beautiful because I felt like it. I smoothed his edges and I held his hand. Father, I felt his chest, no beat. In the place of his heart, a single lemon. You tell me, no worries. Let me feed you mine. Let me feed you mine.

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.

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