Sunday, September 27, 2009

Seventh Month ~ Theophilus Kwek

It is the seventh month.

We visit relatives, unseen
for the rest of the year
and are welcomed with Chinese sausage
wrapped with diced
carrots in warm flour rolls,
bulging orange like angry shape poems.

Teeth slice through sweetened
sauce and greetings
exchange themselves with biting nicety;
comments about the weather
become errant popiah fragments
soaring through the stuffy afternoon.

Further into the conversation,
voices talking at
each other exile
the younger generation reverently
to the background, leaving
them to study rolling TV headlines –

Somewhere a bomb kills
an entire family.
Long-lost son is reunited
with dying grandparents.
Minister cautions against
growing generation gap.

I lower the volume and
there is an awkward silence
we retreat into being

hungry ghosts.

1) seventh month on the chinese calendar is also known as hungry ghost month, because of a traditional belief that ghosts emerge to play and feast on the living in the night.
2) popiah is exactly what it is here - chinese sausage wrapped in thin flour sheets with vegetable and sweet sauce.

Theophilus is from Singapore and is 15. These are his first published poems. He is also a musician with the Singapore National Youth Orchestra and his school Strings Ensemble. He is also very polite.

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