i clasp my hands. this is prayer, so i interlock my fingers to ask for rain.
a string of jasmine sits on my desk. they brown, smell as sweet as rain.
a priest walks through an empty town, the first to turn skywards.
where he goes there is water, even as he kneels to ask for rain.
my grandmother keeps a jade bangle, the last of her dowry, last memory
of the old country. when she goes this shall remain, this memory of rain.
what else has gone? these ancient words, snatched by death. only a parched
field remains, a fast without end, a jagged silence, longing for the rain.
oh ancestors, how did you live with this? on the boats, the towns, the streets,
the children are pleading with cracked lips, with tongues to swallow the rain.
this nameless prayer of palms without words, it has no shape or sound.
it returns to him, endlessly, always overcast. always, a promise of rain.
Cheng Him‘s work has been featured in Quarterly Literary Review Singapore (QLRS), the Eunoia Review, and Softblow. They are part of the writing group known as the ATOM Collective.