composure

and the rustling fell still: face flowed into
eyebags, creases deepening affably, unflappably,
the presumed moorings of conscience. their
silhouettes at the ledge, restless, hungry, peering
past our door, that same fear at the peak of dusk:
where were you when they needed you most? elbows
calloused up grassy mounds, nostrils seared by the
billowing smoke, and the decentering, the jungle heat

of divine absence – and the rustling falls still. face flows
into eyebags, the creases framing a stolid smile. mom
said to drink less coffee after seeing that inveterate
twitching, reflected under glib fluorescence. sometimes
it feels like a funeral in your brain, the ache of being
pried open by daybreak. the coda: showing up is an
act of love. to come back to the sociology of it all: to
sit, lips stained, fully present, ink receding into smoke.

Jonathan B. Chan is a student at the University of Cambridge. Born in New York to a Malaysian father and South Korean mother, he was raised in Singapore. He is preoccupied with questions relating to faith, prayer, and identity. He has recently been moved by the writing of Frank O’Hara, Li-Young Lee, and Charles Olson.

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