Your wrote a poem once, your hand
unsteady, about being too late.
The image I have of it is a plant
wilting on a sill. You sent the poem
after our first meeting in years.
I slipped it into a book, refusing the pain
of remembering and forgetting.
Now the poem is lost, a lost scroll
on the dead sea, and I am the one
who is too late, every poem I write
a call after you, hobbling after
the lost prodigal father.
I would barter these poems
for your lost poem, the plain words
that I can’t get right.
by Boey Kim Cheng, from After the Fire: New and Selected Poems, Firstfruits Publications
Reprinted with the author’s permission
Boey is judged to be both “a Singaporean and international poet” in a review of his latest book of poems Clear Brightness.