pulled by a filament of birdsong,
emerge into an open morning
breaking past the surface of sleep.
adjust your eyes to light, flowing in
past the walls and pooling around
your ankles, nudging your spine
down again but resist the impulse.
tune in to the acoustics of life
happening outside your window:
a bulbul nose-dives before
scooping up again, calling;
a squirrel leaps from one branch
to another, scattering greens.
the tucked-in blooms of hibiscus
from last night burst open again.
swing your legs down from the bed
and go into the garden; the day’s
work is just beginning.
the taxi driver does not pronounce
my name correctly. he smiles and
waves goodbye when I alight, holds
our stories close in conversation.
soon, we become strangers again.
the rain leaves teeth marks on the
stained glass windows of the cathedral,
the candles lighting the hall with
a scented hallowing, the pigeons
outside picking on wet pavements.
the mynahs call out to each other
under the puncture of stars, just
beginning to peek out as the dusk
hunkers to night, their wing breadths
silhouettes against the sky.
the coffeeshop uncles lounge with
their feet propped up on round tables,
their youth returned in the evenings
to them as their palms fold around
beer bottles, eyes on a football game.
the teacher swallows the last
consonants of her words. her students
struggle to make out the names of
rivers and ravines in her accent’s footfalls,
doodle up a map of their own geography.
Faye Ng Yu Ci resides in Singapore, putting frames of light into photographs and verse. Her poems have appeared in Raven Chronicles, Bookends Review, and Cha: An Asian Literary Journal.