Joshua Ip is the author of two volumes of poetry: making love with
scrabble tiles
(2013) and sonnets from the singlish (2012), which won
the Singapore Literature Prize in 2014. Both his poetry and short
stories have been published in numerous print anthologies and
online journals. He won the Golden Point Award for Prose in 2013
for the short story 'The Man Who Turned Into a Photocopier', and was
runner-up for Poetry in 2011. He has co-edited two poetry anthologies:
A Luxury We Cannot Afford (2014) and SingPoWriMo 2014.

to leave unsaid

i have nothing
to say to you
that cannot wait.

in certain urgent
cities, words left too
long out soon cool

or clot. they do not
get carried away. only
a light varnish of dust.

or vanish like old alleys
whose street signs
have been removed.

regardless, there are tenements
teeming from this drawer
and that. they go on,

these piles of you,
your letters. if each one
is an empty road,

twin arms reach from
either side, fingertips touching
to form overhead crossings,

bowing, a stone gongqiao.
eighteen years from now,
our children will meet

at its narrowing apex
and move to one side
to let the other pass.

parting words

no more need
for greetings. where we
left off last, often mid-

sentence, we pick up,
keep going. i have not
felt your words on my face

for years. we type
at each other. when we exhaust
today's trivia we

return to yesterday's.
too often one of us
does not remember

the incident the
other recalls. like the last
time i stopped the

cab and ran to
catch you walking in the
street, and whispered —

if it was left to me
i would build tokyo
around that moment,

sidewalks and suburbs
sprawling out from
the impact of a whisper,

streets snaking around
the drunk salarymen,
the scandalised office ladies

wondering what on
earth, and sofia coppola
with a cool eye — but it was

taipei, not tokyo,
and you tell me you don't
remember what I said

end lines

i cannot bring myself
to ___ you, any more than
you can to yourself.

it is a small
thing, a white truth,
entirely acceptable.

something something,
you don't say.
i feel like i am

repeating you.
it does not matter
enough to make

a big deal,
a happy meal of things.
the taste of my

own words is
always preferable.
swallowed rather than

spat. these tender
teethings, baby
feet, animal noises.

have it easier. your
way. the highway,
the high ground, hi

my name is
and how is your
why of course

it is lip synced,
it is a technical question,
i will get back

to you, sir, everything
is answerable but
what was your

question? the last
thing you said, your
last name. a lot

can be done with
suffixes. suffice
it to say we

will. we have already.
there are no hyphens.
the first and only time

i waited for you
to finish your sentence
it took me

an instant
to say yes,

weight loss

after the loss of her
he continued the habit.
wallet. appetite. keys.
fifteen pounds.
at twenty pounds, he thought,
stop it, loser. loose-waist,
low-hang. less to carry,
weigh, to waste away.
twenty-five. he learned the
names of bones.
ilium. clavicle.
thoracic cage.
clothes hung on him
like skin. a rack of spine
and knobs, holding
himself together.
thirty. a small child
hugging him around the hips
gone missing,
no police report.
perhaps the same weight in
pounds of flesh today
what growth promised
she cut out of herself
four years ago.

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