Daryl Lim is a poet and writer from Singapore. He is particularly interested in the literary
uses of history. His work has appeared in Ceriph, Cha, the Quarterly Literary Review
and two anthologies from Math Paper Press: SingPoWriMo: the Anthology and
A Luxury We Cannot Afford, in which the poem below first appeared.

Garden City
"... the most cost-effective campaign I have launched." — H.

Last night again I dreamt
of creepers worming
toppled brick and crumbling slab;
the jungle riffling idly
through our remains. In the clearing
a tomb staked and splintered
into jigsaw bits of stone
by a spindly tree littering
pink stars (yellow-hearted,
malevolent). Doubtless
it was mine. The wife claims
I woke up screaming. I doubt
that's the case.

The gardeners say it is
a pink mempat. When it flowers
the branches grow thick
with pink, a southern sakura.
Prophecies are always being amended.

Never underestimate action: it often is
an acceptable substitute
for thought. The people appreciate
the importance of a posture.
Thus me today, shuffling soil
with a cangkul. I sometimes wonder
what it's like to spectate
myself. Absurd, probably.

Fifty years of men circled around
sweating their shirts yellow
as I transmute the very earth.
Angsanas. Rain Trees.
Bougainvilleas (though
their false flowers look
like malformed lips).
The carping critics use words
like artificial. Top-down.
Controlled. But some things are
beyond control. The mempat
I planted in sixty-three
is gone. Soon I will be,
like the wife. Scatter me so
I don't feed the trees.

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