everything is perfect from far away
coffee turning cold outdoors;
that was a first. temperate trees in the sub-tropics
(I swear they were coniferous). paddling in a pedalo
on Xuan Huong lake,
we bought ourselves wings with loose change
but our feet never left the water.
like children feverish
for their first taste of ice-cream, we jumped naked
into a heated pool & our lungs turned to ice. on the hotel grounds,
a stray mongrel showed us
that Maslow was right when he devised the hierarchy --
the body’s needs came before love.
I picked up scattered pine cones
on the slab stone pavement, only to find out
three months later they had grown scales and were ovulating
pollen. do you remember
the flowers painting their faces
a different shade of Spring all year round?
when I close my eyes, the countryside is a happy blur
and a cool, dry breath. I enter the rooms
of the Hằng Nga Crazy House on all fours
and when I look down I find myself crouching
on Elephant Falls in broken slippers,
afraid of falling into the coffee cups of young lovers.
Esther Vincent teaches Literature at the School of the Arts, Singapore. She is co-editor of Little Things, an anthology of poetry for adolescents, and the accompanying Teachers' Guide (Ethos Books, 2013). Her poems have been published locally and internationally in Dissident Voice, The Journal of Remembered Arts, Eastlit, Feminine Collective, Into the Void, Luminous Echoes, New Asian Writing, Unhomed, Sound of Mind, Little Things and Ceriph #4. She currently reads for Frontier Poetry.