Memory

He comes back on the wings
of gloaming moth upon the bath,
but too the smell of paint thinned;
the hue of aged carpet.

She holds the thought like years.
Wrist of liver spots, a silver moth
in the crescent’s bitten rind. Grandma says

both fear and love travel across time.
His pictures weave around ankles
like circlets of allamanda.

The dropped oar of a cigarette –
perhaps boating through seventy years of smoke
allow for childhood ghosts to be met.

I find it strange. Only when the rest have slept,
mother, too, swims through race course road,
besides the salted fish, pours herself fearfully

into diluted cups of cola, five beds,
bedbugs spilt like pools having caught night.
I am there to catch her. Unmarried, I am still

child enough. My breath, temper and flesh
an anchor to the man riding his scooter,
white singlet marred with sweat, colonial days.

I, uncaught, unborn,
wait to swim. I understand when I find you return,
surreptitiously carried by the early dawn.

The blood of dreams received by mother’s knee,
my parents’ fear of years errant. I press
their mark into the red flowers in the lawn.

I carry up the naked animal kneeling
in the shower, the person that is meant. Allow the word
release to the past; slowly receive the present.

Ho Ren Chun is a Singaporean-born writer and future lawyer based in London. He has published with Ethos, Acumen, Footnotes and The Cambridge Pamphlet, in anthologies like A Luxury We cannot Afford (2014) and Poetry Moves (2020), and received the Cambridge Brewer Hall Poetry Prize (2017). Ren Chun was also the founder of the Cambridge University Poetry and Prose Society, the first university-wide literary society.

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