When I asked you to write
My elegy you said
You didn’t even know my name, and I responded
I didn’t either. Even if I did the fragmented
Syllables would taste like asphalt and the dry-boned chicken
They fed us when they flayed our dreams in the school
Courtyard. Tomorrow will be the
Seventh time this week that I wake up
Bathed in the purulence of shame,
Crying for unstained bedsheets
And a mother with a
Backbone. Sunday church,
Afterwards. May God bless
The forsaken. The vultures can’t reach you
If you shroud yourself in the tulle of
Forgotten women and soak yourself in a late summer mist.
Anoint your lips with dirges
every time you reach for the phone book, then
Collapse into your solitude
When you realise: the screams you unfurl from a parched mouth
Will seep into the phantom tune of voicemail,
Eternally buried in
Hell, maybe

The mirror is only vermillion
when I look. Here, I’ve stitched myself
To the red bathmat Father brought back
From the dollar store five years ago, along with
broken filaments and band-aids to patch
My splintered bedroom wall.
I’d retched my soul into the plaster, stuffed
A lost girl’s moniker down
Moist blackness.
They told me to burn the cityscape of adolescence
For a catharsis. Insurgency against ashen daybreaks.
Perhaps in oblivion
We’ll all be cremated together,
Ashes fusing with
Mothballs. We’ll all be bygones,
Unknown, flung to the sidewalk
By the twilight breeze. All carrion is identical
Without a beating heart.
Sawdust-spangled pillows. Smouldering identities. Fire. smog.


Author Bio:

Hilary Tam is a writer from Hong Kong. Her work is published in Fahmidan journal, the graveyard zine and more. In her free time she can be found listening to music, playing (and losing at) sternhalma, poring over literary magazines or taking long walks. She is on Twitter: @hilary_pdf