can be made automatic with practice -
for all sorts of things.
Riding a bicycle, driving, a secret handshake,
the exact leg lifts it takes to climb your stairs
how far right to lean to get a fork from your drawer
while making brunch with you on a Saturday.
Transitive patterns - using a toothbrush at your place
finger movements on your arm
the exact angle at which to slant my mouth
to fit yours
precise limbic folds -
your arm behind my head,
my hand on your chest,
your right leg hooked on my left -
your handhold, knuckle-shapes, lip curves
programmed in my premotor cortex
so that I wake up at night
caught in an acute remembering of
your pulse, sweat-scent, tired finger-brushes
wishing with each arterial signal
dementia on my cells.
Those city-bred do not know their way in the dark.
They think they do, in their block houses straight-lined, sure-edged, strongly peopled
but put them in the tattered wings of an equatorial countryside
broad and pale blue with eddying light
flushed a green so dark it offends the senses,
its brief road arms built leanly with zinc, woodsmoke, lone gas stations and too-white singular churches,
where the trees are foreign breathers in the dusk,
the sun a shroud unbearably thick-eyed,
the fields bare, wild strangers with fists full of barren secrets,
each unlit shack a beckoning mouth,
and they'll choke on a blackness born in the gut,
a closed-eye groping unfazed by gas and lighters.
As a child, Lydia Lam dreamed of studying Literature in University and wanted to be an editor, although she hadn't the faintest idea what that meant, having read it only in the opening pages of Enid Blyton books. She got that degree, and now writes, edits and translates for a media company, so dreams do come true, after all.