by Chua Han Au

when you walk long enough
your feet do not degenerate
it’s your mind that becomes fatigued;
your muscles start to rupture — like paper
that has been enduring the gravity of water
soon enough they tear,
like fibres of chicken flesh

you took a piece of paper away
stealthily stole my pen and wrote
beautiful things, glimmering with stardust
beguiled me into believing they all stemmed from trust

Remember the time you told me
the tale of how the crow got feathers of melancholia?
“it drowned in its black bile, simply
and traded iridescence for a pair of strong wings
better than that of mere sparrows”

I thought we looked at life through the same lenses
when the old lady picks up cardboard notwithstanding her arched back
it’s not heart-rending, but pity you uttered
when the rain falls and bullets the still room
it’s not rhythm, but destruction you exclaimed
when one listens to sentimental music
it’s not calming, but soporific you countered

people who have cold hearts
were not victims of an excavation crew,
but dead souls that once bothered too much.