The Listener, First Love

By Sia Tiong Hua

The Listener

Image courtesy of Beedie Savage (

Image courtesy of Beedie Savage (

Some days
you bring rain reminiscent of tears
and on others
it is the seasonal downfall
the monsoon.
I am here
the odd wet umbrellaless figure
beneath your rain
his palms upturned, heavenwards.
I do what I can.
Sometimes I catch just enough
for a cooling drink
but sometimes
water overflows so quickly.
Forgive me.
You know I
will stay
you know I am as unmoving
as the Buddha in our garden.
And when I speak my words
flash sear –
and the aftersilence

First Love

Image courtesy of Vivian Chen (

Image courtesy of Vivian Chen (

You have slipped past me
all my defenses
All day
I let you run run run in my mind
not noticing until you
are gasping
I am gasping –
You have unsettled me
have tossed
me off
And now I am
a rocking
boat I
am a green sailor
nauseated with the idea of you
This is dangerous.
Everything has realigned themsel
ves to recall you
the scent of freshlysha
rpened pencils the
third button of my schooluniform
these heavy bedsheets…
I am not one to flirt with danger
am no adventurer
no thrill-seeker
But this
is a beautiful kind of danger:
See, I am touching it now
my eyes closed.
See, I am rolling your name
on my tongue
more and more
each time.

tiong huaSia Tiong Hua is a nineteen-year-old from Brunei. He currently lives in Hamilton, New York, however, where he attends Colgate University as a freshman. He has work appearing or forthcoming in Boston Poetry Magazine, Iris and Songket Alliance. When he is not writing his constantly-redrafted first novel, he is probably doing crazy, rebellious things like drinking tea that is too hot or blowing spit bubbles.”

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