contrition

tremors, the earthy pallour of barren land,
no husks to cover the splinter of inner tremors,
bubbles blown only to burst, no puffs, no pause, no
air to parse through crawling guilt, how alchemy bubbles
through the heart and the throat, futile theorems that air
empty declamations, caught in the easy crutch of lies through
days and hours, the fluttering eyelids and evening aches, empty
moments finding their suspension, remembering the days
only of pierced feet, roadside gravel, the one solid moment
of elation, enough to grind down wilful blindness, if only
grief could stretch for forty days, to know the end of
backward-facing bends, to draw away this grief
and see: there is no singularity this backward,
how promises demand more than an ‘and’,
again how prophecy will breathe its end, how
land will form beneath the soles again,

Jonathan Chan is a writer, editor, and graduate of the University of Cambridge. Born in New York to a Malaysian father and South Korean mother, he was raised in Singapore, where he is presently based. He is interested in questions of faith, identity, and creative expression. He has recently been moved by the writing of Tse Hao Guang, Rodrigo Dela Peña Jr., and Balli Kaur Jaswal.

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