Three Poems

Wern Hao See

Photo Credit: Justin Hall/Flickr (CC-by-sa)

Photo Credit: Justin Hall/Flickr (CC-by-sa)


We scratch an inventory list of promises, made at the end
of another year, broken like the lesser reflections of ourselves

which we do not dare to cast eyes upon. The stone tablet stares blankly at us
staring at some better tomorrow, tunneling ahead into shadow.

Even before the first step, we have cast our lanterns beyond
our reach, blinded to the ink we have spilled over stone.

All there is left to do is to stumble with resolution, headfirst
against the regrets caving into our skulls.

“Never again, never again, never again” bleeding from our mouths,
the only words we know shaped by the tongues of our youth.



His office pass lies in the recesses
of the bedroom drawer

like a card from a former lover
which he can’t bear to see or shred.

The neighbours heard his last goodbye
wheeling across the corridor.

The newspapers barricade the gate,
each roll marking the days

since departure.
The sign on the door still reads

“May God bless those
who dwell within this house.”

Unemployment trickles up
from man to deity.

The potted plants sit by the window,
listening to the raindrops.

Their leaves are yellowed in the yearning
of what they cannot have any longer.


Postcard from Miami


Brave is the man
with bohemian ropes wrung
down his scalp, jerking
rusty joints with the pull
of tidal puppet strings
and reggae in a foreign tongue
he can’t yet sing.

His dance is for an audience of one,
who has long since scampered off
to pant and lick at thighs
of unsuspecting strangers.


A man came up to tell me
it costs thirteen dollars
for a seat here.

Wondering at the gaping void
of his shades, unsure
where to look, I wanted
to tell him:

This is not paradise.
God does not charge so much
to lie on window shutter
plastic chairs barricaded by
umbrellas filtering
sunlight through shadow.

Instead, I murmured an apology
and moved from the cushion
to crackling earth.
Condemned and evicted,

I scurried away,
punching cupcake craters
into the glittering ground.
Behind me,

Black men cloaked in bleached overalls
rake at sand, flattening footprints
and castles bearing plastic flags
in a single heave.

pencilSee Wern Hao is pursuing Law and Liberal Arts at the National University of Singapore and Yale-NUS College. His works have been featured in anthologies such as A Luxury We Must Afford, Words: Lost and Found and This Is Not A Safety Barrier. Email: seewh[at]

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