Jill Chan



Tonight, it will be dark.
The last candle melts away.
There isn't much to do
but to wait.
Waiting has never been
more agonising, more liberating.
Time is the water
that flows from you
meaningless, washing away
the memory of another day
you are alive miraculously,
with less things than needed,
the hands you dirtied
in living, your own.


You write this by the light
from the window.
To be liberated by necessity,
faith to hold you up, the only thing
that can be counted on today, aside
from the many invisible words
you say to yourself.
Even this pen might run out.
You're giving up words
to be more capable of silence.


There's nothing deaf
about not listening,
about taking other people's words,
and wasting their presence
like you own them.
They just disappear.
Everything to be heard
for the last time.
A voice then is known
for the way it leaves—
action dissolves to memory
if not picked up
like some afternoon shadow.
If suddenly without words,
I come to you.

Jill Chan's second book of poetry, Becoming Someone Who Isn't, was published by Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop in July 2007. Her poems have been published in JAAM, Poetry New Zealand, Brief, Takahe, Trout, Deep South, Southern Ocean Review, MiPOesias, foam:e, Tears in the Fence, Blue Fifth Review, Asia and Pacific Writers Network, and some other magazines.

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