Kimchi Lai is a bilingual poet based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She has performed at Urbanscapes 2018 and 2019, and won third place in the 2018 Asia Pacific slam at Lit Up Festival in Singapore. Kimchi's work has also featured on The KITA! Podcast, as well as Speak Easy on BFM. She self-published her first chapbook, Solace in Solstice, in May 2019.
Waxing Moon, Waning Lover
Tonight, the moon is full.
She smiles at me, her gaze illuminating
the glass in my hand as if she knows
I wish it was you I am holding instead.
I wonder if we have met
in a different dimension;
or if we will meet in heaven.
I would sit with you
under an arbour in the gardens. Surrounded
by pillars cut from the finest
of jade and sharpest of teeth, protecting
us from the fierce winds that try
to blow us apart.
But the air is still tonight, and you are not
by my side in this life. So how dare I wish
for your presence in another?
The moon comforts me
from my window. She is trying
to coax me into slumber.
“You see”, she whispers to me. “I shine
brightest in the face of longing.
What need is there for my light
if your lover radiates enough warmth?
What need is there for a full moon
if you already feel complete?”
Perhaps I will never see
your crescent smile, or hear
your gibbous laugh again.
Yet I know this: we are under the same sky.
And now whenever the moon
waxes or wanes, I will know it is her saying
that you are thinking of me.
The sprig of leaves I planted
the first night we spent together
bloomed today. You cup one
in your hand, petals the deepest
shade of sunset at its final
second before plunging
into dusk, haphazard
but stunning. Ignore the thrum beneath
your feet; the tangled vines that pulse
and hiss with poison and hidden
truths cannot hurt you as long as you keep
me near. Let them creep quiet
and swift the same way nightfall creeps
upon day, curling around
your crown to whisper sleep
into your temples. Do you
understand? This garden started out
an angry mess of ivy – it was never
supposed to bloom. Do you like
on the flowers. I worked
so hard on them.
Waxing Moon, Waning Lover / Romantic Sentence:
Solace in Solstice (self-published)
Fatal Blossom: exclusive first publication by iamb
Words are unconfined, not meant
to be held. But once in a while
I will get lucky and manage
to catch some at the tip
of my pen, just long enough for me
to string them into
an ink necklace. Alive with earnest
grammar and passionate vocabulary;
every dotted 'i' and crossed 't' quivering.
Staining my fingers in haste I drape it
around your shoulders, fasten the ends
with a full stop. The letters startle
at your warmth, smudging
slightly. They tumble downwards
in my clumsy locution and catch
at your collarbone. The same way my breath
does in my throat when I see them sigh
and settle into your skin; dark blue
biro etched across your chest.
You were meant to wear these words.