Tricia Tan


How was it, before you went under? Perhaps you counted
backwards, your numbers moonwalking
into their blank little frames. This life in unbulleted
powerpoint and unloaded image. While waiting did you
remember your skin once held craters gaping
like the blushing lips of carps unmoored
from their bodies, blubbering into their plasticky caves? While waiting
does one grasp the lone finger of a metal bar
close a fist around that silent half-prayer? While waiting should
One pray that the surgeon has been born again, that
The scalpel, too, might herald new birth? This same blade
Once unearthed a treasure of a girl from the same cavity, the enjambment
of your unsung sonnet, the first word of your psalms
of ascent. This cancer like the uncommissioned black out poem:
Your choked: I ⬛ am ⬛ grateful, ⬛ Lord
While waiting who knew remission was less
comma than parenthesis? That your bravery birthed
a bold new world with its strange grammar and unbolted syntax, run on
lines that never quite found their ends.

Tricia Tan Hui Ling is an undergraduate medical student from Singapore. She has been published in Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, and writes about her faith on A lover of words and meanings, she can often be found scribbling poetry in old case notes. Out of wards, she runs an online bakery and hosts a global health podcast.