Of rivers and time

by Chua Han Au

the ginger tea inflames the throat
if not swallowed delicately
my hands of cat-stained-fur touch the desk
I think I left a memory

that night
we heaved breaths of fire
we perambulated what shaped us,
we revived memories passing bronze leaves and grand sights
“I remember the staircase being really huge and now it looks so small!”
“Did we have a running track?” “Not that I can remember.”
we walked down memory lane, literally
of sheltered basketball courts and bigger fields and bigger classrooms maybe
yet what stayed were the designs of our canteen —
their signboards remained iconic
we laughed, so very sweetly

before nightfall,
we snailed our way through Botanic Gardens,
of rabbit-in-the-hole terrapins and monitor lizards in manbuilt stones
all was peaceful; all was well
there and then,
you told me
you preferred doing things
in solitude
and said my mind had changed
through the words we exchanged
you too told me people studied music for two:
one, to compose a piece if they did feel blue
or to play a song or two, of their loved crew

do you remember Yiruma and River flows in you; the jargons our clique came up with so very creatively, we could all be linguists and comedians hybridised; we could be a new species!

7 years happened
philosophies changed and changing, priorities stacking, troubles burgeoning
what abounds!
you changed but are the same
your melancholic disposition was fainter and now faint
I think we all grew
grew out of the husk and cocoon

now,
we’re at the river delta, only 19
things yet to be felt most dangerously
with grave intensity
we never know where we’ll be
we’re at the river delta, only 19

oh dear friend,
you’ve read my writings all along
and I never knew
but I hope that some day,
I’d get to hear your music too

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