Poetry / February 2010 (Issue 10)

Copernicus for a Singaporean Grandmother

by Wena Poon

The truth, I'm afraid, was quite rudely
Dropped on her one hot afternoon
For no real reason at all, sometime
Before her afternoon nap, and after
The postman had gone, while she was in her old deck chair
With a tattered, spindly little fan
Minding her own business.

And I told her. Her eyes grew large
Her voice tensed (like when her doctor
Told her the bad news).

The Earth was Round. The Sun, I added
For good measure, was larger than the Earth,
And we revolved around it. We moved.
I showed her a fold-out from National Geographic,
The colours of the planets, how the Universe
Stretched from star to star.

"Where are we?" she asked, eyes following
My finger as I pointed dryly, like Admiral
Akbar briefing the Rebel Alliance.

It was too late in her life to learn all this
Perhaps I should not have tried.

All afternoon as the shadows grew longer
She sat silent in her chair, looking up at clouds
While I acted as casual as I could be.

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