Rumi’s visitors


I resolved to be a good hostess

to all who come to my door.

I would offer custard creams,

kueh lapis from the coffee shop

down the road, pu’er tea,

Earl Grey or organic rooibos,

whichever they prefer.

I would sit and get to know them,

ask why they are the way they are,

who they are and where they come from.


But how they love to come

in the most unholy hour,

riding on the tails of thunderstorms.

They must force open drawers

sealed shut by damp, brandish

yellowed diaries and read out

lines I wish I had never penned.

They pounce upon frayed soft toys

stitched whole with zigzag scars

and tug until the stuffing falls out.


They stay until the sky turns metallic

and leave me with bruise-rimmed eyes

and chalk-pale cheeks wondering

how I might face this world.


written by Moira Ong






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