This pillared mansion that was
once home to the children of sultans,
its last remaining jewels cobwebs
that glitter in corners, whose only angels now
are dust motes that dance in filtered sunlight
through bare windows, I wonder if
it misses their laughter and querulous voices
more than we miss the trail of homes
scattered in our wake.
Then these railway tracks that meander
through vanilla housing board flats,
canals where scum is patterned
like lacquer, leaf- lit tunnels
across the sea to Malaysian soil,
does this long corridor still echo
with the dreams of those who love
long after the trains cease to run?
I believe you can hear them
in the twilit softness if you are silent
and a little lonely.
And I thought then of pianos
where disinterested children once tinkled
and who long now to sing,
of teddy bears and dolls
whose flat eyes and open arms
yearn for one moved on
to other loves, and all those unnamed
and discarded things on trash heaps
we leave behind us.
I wondered if we could hear the silent sadness
of those who weep for us, would we
turn to them and love them?
Then I realized that we would not act differently
from what we do now.