Blue Mountain Arts
Blue Mountain Arts
Blue Mountain Arts

Poetry Contest Winners :: Twenty-first Contest :: First Place Winner

Balestier Road

by P. D. Lyre

i wonder if you can remember
the last time you held my hand.

back then i was small
enough for you to lift onto
your broad, sloping shoulders,
small enough to press my weight
against the rough of your scalp
and hang on to the holes in
your singlet as i rode
on your back down the empty streets
at six in the morning.

i still recognize the smell
of lotus paste simmering in
flour buns, sweet against the sultry
tropical haze; the corner shop
steamed them just the way you liked them.

search your mind, recall how you would pull
one apart with your wrinkled fingers,
splitting it into perfect halves,
some for me and some for you.

we would always watch the electrical
appliance stores set up for the day,
wait across the road till the whole
street of them glowed, chandeliers
that we knew we could not afford
swinging in spite of us.

now think of the old chinese pet shop,
of winged siamese fighting
fish with their gossamer fins
swam in circles in their
glass tanks and budgerigars
beat their wings frantically
against wooden cages.

you are the reason i believed that
i could fly.


i wonder if you can remember
the last time you held my hand.

it was 10:30pm and
we sat cross-legged
on the pavement sharing
cardboard cartons of fried
chicken wings, wiping oily fingers
against our jeans.

cars chugged through traffic
pluming exhaust fumes
into our faces, i wrinkled my
nose like a child.

we only had a row
of streetlamps to light
the way but your fingers
found mine in the darkness
and i let the creases
in your palms guide me home.

you were the reason i believed
i didn't have to be afraid of anything.
Second Place Winner
Blue Mountain Arts