Thursday, December 14, 2006

For A Cousin Who Married Young

She climbs out of the sighing bed,
weighing her body on her toes,
soles, so as not to disturb him.
There’s tap-water to boil for tea,

but now a moment to herself—
stare out of kitchen window to
opposite windows black with sleep,
and hear the stray cats mew for god

knows what—she finds herself among
the old appliances. The new
alarm clock beeps. She wakes the three
children, the man she lets him sleep.

While the drowsy faces eat, she slips
into her uniform, and checks
their wallets for snack money, and
their bags the school-books for the day,

the Math the children scrawled before
her eyes last night. They kiss her, leave.
Now she wakes him up and, when sure
he lies awake, picks up her bag.

In the next room, the dowager
appears asleep, though she can’t tell
for sure. The quarrel last week meant
the children ate nothing for lunch.

She slings her bag, decides to call
home twice, during her lunch and break.
Her thoughts turn with her steps to work,
those long hours making someone happy.


Greg said...

Wow Jee Leong. To my reading that's so sad! & in such a concentrated way - It brought tears to my eyes.

Jee Leong Koh said...

Thanks, Greg. Glad you like it.

Jee Leong