Cyril Wong

Cyril Wong is the author of four collections of poetry in Singapore.
Internationally, his poems have appeared in Atlanta Review, Fulcrum,
Cider Press Review, Southern Ocean Review, Cordite, Dimsum, Berliner
Anthologie and others. He was a featured poet at the Edinburgh
International Book Festival (UK), the Hong Kong International Literary
Festival, the Queensland Poetry Festival (Brisbane, Australia) and
Singapore's first poetry festival, Wordfeast. He is the founder and co-
editor of SOFTBLOW, an international poetry journal online.


It returns in the midst
Of a grateful embrace,
And then I understand, 
Presently at least, its
Simplicity, so pure to
Mention the misted glass,
The leaden curtains still
As truth on either side
Of the sky would reveal
But too little, too much.
Even the blanket pressed
Upon our bodies, fact
Of its heaviness, fails
To bear on its plainness.
While I compose this, it
Flickers like night vision,
Brief instants of sudden
Clarity. I note just
How tenderly it hides,
As blood under these veils
Of flesh, as the movement
Of clouds overhead, as
The long sighs of the man
Or woman fast asleep
Beside and inside us.


Taking off my clothes, I glimpse
Myself in the mirror where,
Once again, nothing ever looks
The same way twice; my hair

The colour of dead leaves,
My torso rising to a nakedness
Which is also its shield.

Sharp ribbons of sunlight ride
Up a bare chest, this brightening bulb
Of shoulder, gentlest flank of neck.

Sliding into the tub, my body,
Gleaming under the surface of water,
Lies like a word in its own revelation.

Dead Driver’s Girlfriend

(Pull In)

We kept on talking,
eyes misted windshields,

parked bodies
on the bed that was also a road,

as even the traffic
shut up to hear how you were

the youngest in the family, the
first to pass the driving-test, first

to start driving. In the light,
your Rover turned bright-scarlet;

In those days, the car
was still beautiful. One night,

its lustre turned predatory.

(Pulling In)

But the world would
have you, in the dark,
from the side of the highway -
in that instant, your face
  a darting eyeball, open vowel.

(Pulled In)

But now, I want
only to remember
how you were
before you weren't, the way
you spoke of betterment, driven
to win, convinced this need
was universal. As you claim,
even now, to love me more.


It is, of course,
its own image of confinement.

a specific kind
of fear. This fear
of loss.

Alone, you sit
in your posture of silence

on the balcony
under the night.

That fence
around the garden, swallowed
by flowers and vines. In your mind,
has turned symbolic.

In my mind,
we are survivors
in the middle of the ocean,

or the analogy
of the weed that swells
beside the flower.

One will always
outlive the other.

Free Will

I close my textbooks
And watch a tree in the garden

Demonstrate free will: rooted,
It can only sway.

My mother is still.
She looks strangely

Philosophical, calm
As the living-room floor,

Even resigned
As furniture,

As the day bends
Backwards without her.