by Kendrick Loo
A Weekend in Comrie
We drove out here till the wilderness
was all we saw for miles around us.
This was as far north as we were willing to go,
so we pitched a tent and drew water. In waders
I went out to the river, mud slicking boots
and caught fish till the bitter wind
washed away the places we'd decided to forego.
That night, we gathered our bodies
and prayed for warmth to visit. Wolves
had not been spotted for years here, but we
were a suspicious pair. When we awoke
the coals were dead, but our dreams
were sunshine. It had snowed that night
and we were both grateful for shelter.
Folding up the map, we hiked further in
forest trails hidden for us to discover. We made
our own mistakes: the snow seeping deep
to bone as we told each other tales,
we spotted deer, paused as they leapt away.
Quiet, we wandered to the top.
This is what we came here to see
except when we reached, all we were
was a clearing, galanthus refusing bloom.
You take my hand: "I came here for you."
after Natasha Trethewey
i think by now the fields have grown
thick with corn. late july, i imagine it
as it was that night: headlights soft
against the soil, darkness breathing
long and sonorous. that night we
dreamt with a map spread between us
and slept on its charted boundaries,
palms entwined in bundled prayer.
we travelled for days like this, fields
stretching all around us, the sun pregnant
while we curled up at night to music
our bodies a closed parenthesis, skin
touching skin, our breathing matched.
we were never careless with love: bodies
maps of desire, whispers a fine
mist of rain on the spine. yes,
recall how you woke, hand resting
on my neck. how you held my heart
with the tenderness of wild places.
above us the stars were dreaming,
roused by your touch, i stirred
into the solemn hours of night.
for my son
ever since you have left
i have looked at the moon, consulted
i have learnt you like orange candles,
that glass red pomegranate in the aisle. you
poke around the house to flip the lights on thursdays
though you remain petulant on mondays
over the one baseball game i missed
when you were young.
every year, i cast a lantern, write
a message in chinese. sometimes, songs
you loved crackle on the radio, and
i call up storms in response, remembering
how your laugh sounded when it rained.
i’d like to think the hot chocolate i leave
is appreciated more this way, with a drizzle.
now, i know you will never hold a conversation
with me, nor will you try cooking
though i admit i find that a blessing.
it’s tougher to concede that you
will never walk with me, smile
over a book, asking if this was what i wanted.
call me a foolish dad, but sometimes
i can feel you beside me, so come
out from behind the tree, my son.
it’s christmas, i’ve left out some presents —
that photo of us at your first day of school,
the first razor i’d have gotten you
a few days later, had you not slipped
out of my grasp.
Kendrick Loo is an English & Management undergraduate at University of St Andrews. His poetry has been published in SingPoWriMo '16, The New Paper, and L'Ephemere Review. He is part of the ATOM writing group and publishes poetry reviews for Singapore Unbound. He can be found tweeting at @stagpoetics.