Memoir

After a certain hour buildings don’t make sense.
Lights from across the street
resemble nothing, my footsteps
knocking on uneven stones, not bothered
by their own discordant melody. I would see
different people in different rooms,
hunched over desks or gazing out at traffic,
a phone nestled in the carapace
of an ear, mouths
shaping words that have no meaning
other than the small importances we give them.
To see my life before me
would be to know the end of fear. Walking home
on damp pockets of road, every lane
drenched in its indifferent perfume
of rain and dirt, I could be so smug
as to find comfort disconcerting,
catching glimpses of whole,
unharvested years
quietly burning in the shadows of a life
still running its race for relevance.
Somewhere in the middle
there is adventure, maybe even love,
and on nights when everyone leaves early
my body aches with an inertia
of past indulgences.
What now? Only a record of
undeserved kindnesses: a casual nod
from the cafeteria waiter, an overladen sky
keeping from release, new interns
grinning in a glass elevator,
things that wait for the night to end.

Jerrold YamBorn in 1991, Jerrold Yam is a law undergraduate at University College London and the author of two poetry collections by Math Paper Press, Scattered Vertebrae (2013) and Chasing Curtained Suns (2012). His poems have been published in more than 50 literary journals worldwide, including Antiphon, Counterexample Poetics, Mascara Literary Review, Prick of the Spindle, The New Poet, Third Coast and Washington Square Review. He is the winner of the National University of Singapore’s Creative Writing Competition 2011 and the youngest Singaporean to be nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  http://jerroldyam.wordpress.com/