INHERITANCE

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Walking the car after dinner, hands
unhinged in confidence or the veined
clasp of its insecurity, my parents
spot things they don’t recognise—
hair salons, shophouses, bakeries
bleached in French décor to make
them question if we’ve been living
in the area for twenty years. I trace
their eyes back to the invincibility
of provision shops, when sunsets
clot traffic to a trickle and old men
play chess in silhouettes conjured
by flats they can finally claim
a part of. I believe happiness, this
strange liability perching on tongues.
I imagine her head nestled like an
oath on his shoulder, the hollow
in their hands warming to build a
life together. One of them already
dreams of taking me to dinner, for
me to command the hollow welded
with their palms. They are helpless
in youth, carving all possibilities
out for that wisp of a heartbeat
still blinded by its own miracle.

::First published in Mascara Literary Review, Poetry Quarterly, Singapore Memory Project and Chasing Curtained Suns (2012).
::1st Place, Writing the City Competition (November 2011).

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