Poetry / August 2008 (Issue 4)

Visiting Home

by Grace V. S. Chin

Visiting home
is both pleasure and pain.
So much has changed, yet

so much still remains: the faces
older and dearer, lined with criss-crossing
worries and frets that know no end.
There are more children than ever, running
in loops till I lose breath
just from watching them, their screams
and shrieks remind me of
that bottomless energy
I once possessed.

There is father, 85 years old,
and still in his chair, rocking
to an unsung tune of old, mildewed
photographs. He keeps his room door
locked and no one has the key.
Here is mother, smiling
in black-and-white pictures hanged
crooked on the wall. Dust
obscures her features; she died
too young.

The house stands at the edge
of my childhood. Here
is the room I played in,
my favourite toys lined
against the wall where the
clock ticked-tocked throughout
my adolescence, feeling my way
into this world of inchoate
shapes and desires. The tick-tock
never stops even after the clock falls
silent. Time is not marked by the hands
of a machine, but is calculated by the falling
hair, the failing senses, the faltering voice.

I stand at my father's door, knocking,
waiting, for him to invite me in. I hear
the turning of the key, and hesitate,
my hand trembling on the doorknob.

Website © Cha: An Asian Literary Journal 2007-2018
ISSN 1999-5032
All poems, stories and other contributions copyright to their respective authors unless otherwise noted.