Shawn Hoo

Tame (from ‘Natural History of the Florids, 19the Century’)



They Won’t Stop,                                          They Believe in Red


Previously published in Issue 52 (March 2020) of《聲韻詩刊》Voice and Verse Poetry Magazine



The Metamorphosis

Then, the silt that clogged
the lungs became the silt

that wouldn’t drain
from the lungs. Became

each one of us coughing
up granules, as if we were all linked

by an invisible tributary.
First, we refused to hear that

the sand would not dislodge
from its tube, that the blood

samples kept returning
positive. Then, the silt

that wouldn’t drain
from the lungs became

the silt that ate
the lungs. Became

the river bend
where it wanted to bend.

Eventually, we understood.
That night, I hear

myself pull out
like a nymph

from underwater
and the traffic

of mayflies crest in public.
They do not believe in distance

but in time. And given one
entire day to live—

one entire life—
I felt ready for the day,

and its cleared

took in one
clear, entire breath.



Shawn Hoo is a writer and editor from Singapore. His forthcoming debut chapbook, Of the Florids, won the 2021 Diode Editions Chapbook Prize. His poems can be found in New Delta Review, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Queer Southeast Asia, Voice & Verse Poetry Magazine, OF ZOOS and elsewhere. His translation of Lao She appears in the Journal of Practice, Research and Tangential Activities (PR&TA). He is Assistant Editor at Asymptote, where he curates the Translation Tuesdays showcase. Shawn graduated from Yale-NUS College in Literature, and is currently based in Shanghai. Twitter: @hycshawn &