For Chloe Lim, a JC student, her favorite Singapore poem is “A Kind of Hush” by Cyril Wong. “I just love how fluid and expansive it turns the things unsaid into. It got me at “My hand swims / into the bay area of your hand.””
A Kind of Hush
Silent again, we begin to hear
noises in our heads, swelling
to overwhelm the sound of our
breathing. If we are silent for
long enough, something would surface
from under the wind-troubled
faces of murky ponds
our minds have become.
All at once, ripples would flee
in a singular, outward direction –
these questions of guilt or blame.
Then what comes up for air
would be a different quiet
we keep drowning, pinning it
underwater in our pride, until
its legs stop kicking.
Different because we may hear
the mirroring of fear and
a time-sharpened dependency
within it. Such a quiet we only
hear when we do not hear:
walking together, every meal,
sharing the same cab home.
Listen. Listen. My hand swims
into the bay area of your hand.
If we are silent for long enough,
we could start over.
by Cyril Wong, from Unmarked Treasure (Math Paper Press)
Used with the author’s permission