Category Archives: Nicolette Wong

Bedposts by Nicolette Wong

He runs his fingers down the swollen scraps on her skin, circling the dried blood on her arms and thighs. Then he kneels on the floor and opens her legs to see that flaming morsel, ravished by his girlfriend’s fury after he exited the mockery of their threesome. Sitting on the edge of the bed she looks smaller than she really is, a woman of long, slender bones and composure.

‘I never thought Flora would do this,’ he says, kissing the cuts on her thighs. ‘She smiled when I asked her.’

‘It was me who asked, in the first place.’

‘She said she missed girls.’

‘I asked because I missed you,’ she lifts his head to push him away.

In the heat of his lovers’ kisses, finger-fucking and penetration, he had fondled those small and perky breasts of his ex-girlfriend’s for as long as it took her to trust, to stay still so that he could tie her hands to the bedposts. The moment she looked at him in a haze, Flora took over and seized her with a smothering kiss. The passion was such a perfect drape for the women; there was no place for him and Flora should have this beauty to herself, as she wanted to.
‘What did you tell Flora about me before last night?’

‘That you’re the woman I once wanted to marry. Until you left me.’

‘And you don’t want to marry her,’ she says and closes her eyes.

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Shape to Shore by Nicolette Wong

–For Brian

Home sweet home is the water we sink into in the music of your dream. The strings will not give & my lungs are wheezing, from embraces I fail to make towards you in green. Your eyes are crazed, of a water ghost murdered in his past life by a recalcitrant lover.

We used to draw bubbles at drowsy hours. Mine was a string of insanity crawling down the dotted lines, until you snatched it from my hands & held it to the light. ‘Oh baby,’ you said. ‘Go get some sun.’ Your bubbles were light, foaming at the corners & other surprising spots on the scrap of paper. Like love.

Since we parted you have been to home & hell & back. Crashed your bike against the fences to dive into the lake for a mock suicide. Boarded the plane to a foreign land to suffocate from polluted air among strangers. Hopped on an overnight train to cross the border, passport & a dead heart at the control point.

Now you reach out to me in a muddy green. ‘Our homes lie in people,’ you say. ‘Don’t fool yourself.’

I have no choice but to close my eyes & forget about shore. It is the only way I would reach it.

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To the Trees by Nicolette Wong

Cold front is you on the morning I cut through mist. Around the park where old men wave their wooden swords in unison, blunt-edged glory boiling in their veins. I tread a path of oval stones to haunt the trees, reading their names & spirits to make them my allies.

I must reach my stop before the sun scorches my eyes.

Since you passed out from too much alcohol in my bed, I have turned it into an ummarked grave. I shoveled dirt over your blonde hair fused with grey, your blue eyes burnt by past phantoms while you ran up the tower you built around yourself, panting, holding onto me for lights from a distance. Every step of yours made me cringe; it made me run to that snowy landscape where a fox smiled & flitted past, a reminder of your false love.

Now I must run to the last tree I could find & wrap my arms around it. Only its embrace could save me.

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After Pausal by Nicolette Wong

–for Todd Tam & late-night music

I dip a feather quill in dragon blood ink for protection from you: my sketched giant, eyes flaming inside a streetlamp & a knife in your pocket, a stabbed life to the edge of the ring notepad. Your anger is rising like the smoke above my fingers. Pull the knife now. Slice the fish on the table to match the fine traces of your prison.

Every time the blood splashes an anonymous face would break, & turn into a skeleton holding onto the lamppost in fright. I cannot stop these characters’ changes, just as you cannot find your tainted heart in that open book in your hands. A dot upon another until it turns into a tornado. Let it swirl; let time elude and fade.

You have forgotten your identity, even your lost love. All night I draw to the music for which you are created, red ink on my skin & your lapsing rhythm. The cruelty you are living has nothing to do with your soul. It is a flower blossoming in someone else’s loneliness, on a night locked in broken sounds and distance.

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The Right Time by Nicolette Wong

The barricades pierce her heart in a blind spot of hope undone. Like a dead bird in the air falling to the battlefield, between distorted faces and arms entangled in blood, dust of broken will that would forever be fooled by a grand promise. Her voice breaks against children’s laughter, ambient music in her studio and the stillness I am trying to hold, over the phone.

‘He called the whole thing off. The photo shoot. The banquet,’ she sobs.

My friend is a sturdy woman with wide shoulders, wavy brown hair and a jolly gait. I imagine her falling flat on the floor, a crucified victim surrounded by curious children. The paint on their hands would dry in an instant when they saw the light had gone out of their teacher’s eyes.

‘Did he say why?’ I ask.

‘He loves someone else. A young man he met at work.’

The man who left purple roses scattered over my friend’s drawing table, to go home and sit between his mother and sister in front of the TV screen? Now he must find his private sphere so he can lock lips with another man who ignites the fire in him, tearing apart the composure he has feigned for years. He will emerge a glistening man, fresh-faced with joy and sanity.

‘I don’t understand why it took so long for him to tell me,’ my friend says.

‘I’m sure things happened at the right time,’ I say.

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Promises by Nicolette Wong

It was our last voyage into the familiar shore, small tins and scoops tinkling in our hands and songs. The fiddler crabs had retreated into the setting sun. Broken shells were all we could find, between grey glistening stones and our shadows on the sand.

‘Do you think these shells moved onto their next lives?’ April asked, holding a semi-transparent one to the sky as if it was a magnifying glass which would give her a glimpse of heaven. She was in a white, spaghetti strap dress, the kind I always longed to have. She was eight; I was seven.

‘I don’t know what lived in these shells before,’ I said, ‘Maybe they found new lives.’

‘My brother smashed a snail once.’

‘Did you watch?’

‘No, I ran away screaming when the hammer dropped. He cleaned up the mess and told me the snail would reincarnate into something else. A different animal.’

I picked up my tin and missed the fiddler crabs we used to catch. April liked to shake them in the tin until they faded from the shock. I watched mine bob up and down in the water for a while, then let them go.

On our way home April made me promise to visit her in the years to come. I heard her family never moved away from the island.

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Paralysis by Nicolette Wong

They say she is the wild card but the playground is empty. In the starlight I cannot see, cannot hear the voices coming from the sanctuary, a riot searing the night’s veil, ashes falling into her veins where she is turning into a statue, all grey and stone.

Her grief is green and mine is blue.

The playground stays empty every night.

Since she went missing I have burnt my world down: clothes, records, books and all documentary proof to my existence. Today I peel bank notes off my wallet and leave them all over the streets. If her flesh is gone, what else do I have to hold onto?

She is a young thing. So am I. Only I lost my soul early and saw it in time.

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