poetry by Lo Mei Wa and photography by Manson Wong
I answer the door – nobody knocks.
A boy scurries down the staircase.
Something starts in my throat.
A phlegm, I guess, that I cannot spit.
My voice gone husky, burning without pain.
Some of my words, muted.
The rain, thudding on the windowpane,
muffles the opinion of my pulse.
Birds go the wrong way. Stars roll back.
My hand presses against the window.
In my palm a lady’s smock blooms
and wilts, as soon as I pull away.
I peep through my telescope:
just different snails.
Tens of thousands of snails
in explosive shells
marching toward our Sweet Gum.
City parents say the vines
will redefine the tree,
This isn’t what I mean.
The golden bell in my chest
watches in silence.
The sky refrains, but her clouds gather
from below, bleeding the world.
The boy must be in the street.
But the street cares for no religion.
I saw boys hurled across the sky
and the city’s doors teetered open.
I, too, scamper downstairs.
My lady’s smock buds and dies
It starts raining beneath my skin
when I stop amid a clammy web of wails
and vows entwined.
Where is the boy from my door?
They are all the same boy
staring at something behind the end.
I crawl along, like a snail.
The city is sacked,
tossing to quench its fire.
Her hair is burning.
It must be those damned boys.
Smoke frees itself beyond the sky.
They stand between white fires.
These are boys who’ve found home
in the depths of an eternal crime,
found freedom in unbearable cold,
found integrity in fleeting union.
They camouflage the mother ahead.
But she’s been camouflaged many times.
Claws poke out from the ground
and slit their little lungs.
Toxins trickle down their lips
purging and clarifying their fears.
These giggling boys only have
An unfortunate one there,
Boys flock around his corpse,
standing guard in a hot quiet.
The poor boy’s belly cracks open—
a majestic galaxy shimmers within.
I stand between thousands of snails,
listening to the golden bell whipping in the wind.