‘I populate my poems with living nothings’
‘every poem is a love poem’, Anita Solak and Panda Wong

Once, I read a book of love poems written
by someone who was part-lizard. Another man,
part-snake, slithered in the tall grass. I ran, unseeing,

cutting through the sharp lallang. There was no secret
trampled path of safety where others had fled before.
When I finally emerged from the field, my dress was

in shreds and those watching could no longer read
the truth for the blood. Rubies burst into pomegranate
seeds within a coffin; cakes crumbled in mourners’ mouths.

A thin facsimile of pipes reeded through the sound system.
We sat directly under the air-conditioning vent so our tears
fell and froze like perfect chandeliers. They fell and shattered

across the black and white tiles. I’d made myself a rose but pinned
it upside down. They lost an amethyst in the green plastic grass
but it was me who found it under a torn paper cup. I know magic.


The epigraph is a line from ‘every poem is a love poem‘, by Anita Solak and Panda Wong, in Runway Journal Issue 41: Love, 2020, edited by Manisha Anjali.