擇 / Choice
Instead, my mother unshackles her hair, strands
falling like trees at the end. In September light,
she sweeps sapphires back into the prescription
bottle where they belong. There’s music, maybe
Teresa Teng, beauty ambered in her dead voice.
Lilies on the windowsill sweeten yesterday’s water.
On the nightstand, a diary hugs her secrets.
I imagine her slipping into my room, her son asleep
on a slatted bed. This is the repository where
dreams are kept. I imagine her pleated dress, knees
pressed against cold hardwood. She’s kneeling now.
Hand on my head. Not to say goodbye but I’m sorry,
to ask for no one’s mercy but her own, to tell me
I am a son with a mother who wants to live.
雪 / Snow
Snow is what I have never touched. The year
she pawned all her pearls, my mother unfurled,
wept sorries before sleep. Beneath our bunk bed
hid a calendar of the Alps, peaks white as brides.
Before marriage, my father promised her honeymoon
in Lucerne. Each night he left, I watched him shrink
to a smudge in the peephole. Rain enveloped
by curtains. Soup surrendering steam. The day
I called from another country, Hong Kong
was already asleep. When I told Ma I was safe,
she asked if my coat was warm enough. I felt
a quiver in the wire that bound us, the distance
between seasons, and said yes, despite the cold,
despite the valleys of my eyes beginning to snow.
Eric Yip Eric Yip was born and raised in Hong Kong. He was the 2021 winner of the National Poetry Competition in the UK. His work appears or is forthcoming in The Poetry Review, The Adroit Journal, bath magg, and elsewhere. He is currently an undergraduate at the University of Cambridge.