White Box

At the age of eight I did not know

what a hearse was and what it drove.

I stood in front of a long, white box

but I could not look at you because

the last time I saw you was outside my house,

you asked to borrow a bottle of ketchup.

I called you outside the very next day

and you did not come out.

You were not there.


You swore to me your mailbox

was the only white you’ll ever ride

for it was your steed, your companion,

to all the adventures we went on together.


And yet you laid there

in a white box within a white box.

They told me you were sleeping.

They told me to say goodbye.

You will not be waking up.


How to Make a Sandwich

I was told this was

the way to a man’s heart:


  1. Put on an apron and tie up your hair.
  2. Lock yourself in the kitchen for hours on end.


  1. Take out a loaf of bread, and slice it in two.
  2. Spread the butter inside, nice and even on all sides.
  3. Put the lettuce, the tomatoes, one on top of another.
  4. Add their choice of meat; ham, bacon, or chicken.
  5. And then slide everything into the toaster oven.


  1. Serve them the sandwich while it’s nice and hot.
  2. Keep quiet as they go on about their day.
  3. Clean up when they’re done.


It is their world, after all.

You are but a woman.

The Hawk’s Lullaby

And still the hawk believed

he was not alone

in the treeless jungle

he built his nest on

for there were beasts

of the most unnatural forms

speeding and honking

and flying and falling

all around him.


They cried as he did

a cry unlike his,

booming and loud

and deafening.


They cried all day

and all night,

all the same pleas.

I am alone.

I am alone.

I am alone.


I am not,

the hawk thought

as he towered above them,

miniscule in size.

Not of the same feathers,

but of the same fears,

he slept in the comfort

of all of their tears


Mornings begin with the sound of your voice

tugging at ears a blend of screeching tires

and inaudible words set at the highest volume.

Your smile calls to wake up each and every day

at six thirty in the morning sharp, seven at most.

A method you have perfected over the years

caters to the needs of all your children;

the right amount of light to blind eyes awake,

an excess of heat to force off the bed.

You push out of the door, into the street,

into a multicolored rainforest with waters

infested with crocodiles and snakes

whose day jobs prescribe hours in the office,

and a lush filled with brothers and sisters

of the same color, the same blood, different directions.

A mother that forces her child out into the jungle,

without food or money to last the day,

with nothing but the endurance he has cultivated

over his years under her wing.

Guided by the rush of the life you have set

but confused by the congestion and stagnancy

of those who live it, he is left to stand

in the middle of a footbridge, above

a sea of cars that have ceased to go on,

amidst a current of people that move

from here to there, with his hand

stretched out towards them.

Anna Karenina

An approaching horn’s noise

deafens all who have ears.

The platform is shaking

with each feeble pebble

dancing on iron rails.


A woman on the edge,

decked head-to-toe in black;

a lavish purse, dangling,

its hue reminiscent

of her quivering lips.


Heels clacking, fidgeting

on the wooden floor,



What am I doing? Why?


A moment, a stillness;

seconds compressed in time.


A cloud of smoke rolls in.

fog as the train arrives.

God, forgive me ev’rything!

The black mist fades away,

dissipating slowly.


People shift in, shift out.

A red bag lies on the

edge of the platform, stepped

on by foot after foot.

The commotion ensues.


I stood on the southern shore of Tsim Sha Tsui

the night before I left, to tell you goodbye.

Before dusk underneath the clock tower, as promised,

amidst faces all the same, waiting. Slowly,

you lit up the sky, as the dark settled in.

Your rough, gray skin glowed, replacing the stars.

Beneath you the harbor comes alive, along with the current,

and the boats, and the ferry who resembles a vision of you

from years long ago. I have shared you for too long

with millions just like me. The same dance every night

for both hellos and goodbyes – a ballet of lights,

blue, yellow, gray, and white, I mistook for you and I.

Goodbye, I whispered into thin air, listen.

A new love has swept me to a place far away.

Silence. Your breath crashed with the waves,

tapping on the pier, fragrant as the sea.

The light sprinkle of water are your fingers

brushing against my skin. A murmur into my ear,

so faint a voice. Too late to look back

on what once was. Goodbye, my lover,

I must let you go, back to your stage

above the water where you belong.

Silent Retreat

A pastoral poem —

I went out into the silence in search
for the sheep this place is famous for.
I looked around the green grass, behind
the towering trees, to find nothing
but the wind howling at me
like a wolf would the moon.
I went down the long jagged road
that stretched from where we slept
to the gate back to the real world.
Cracks were here and there, threatening
to trip anyone who takes a misstep.
I pushed on, up, behind a big acacia tree,
down a path less travelled, covered
in layers and layers of moss, slippery,
dragging me down once or twice.
To my right was untrimmed greenery,
to my left was the outline of homes,
one after another, separated from me
by a thick wall of cement. Through
paved walkways and soil I walked,
through moss and bridges of wood,
watered down by the incessant rain
that has been bothering the silence
I have planned to keep. At the end
of it, a cemetery, where priests of
yesteryear and today rest in tombs
set to their names. In a few steps,
I will be back, and yet I have seen
no sheep.