i. twilight

death by water, drawled the fisherman
who dredged you from the river, handsome, tall. 
i am a widow in a foreign land
with nothing to her name. i spent it all
to beg a favour of a passing priest.
i had no gold to pay the wagoner
to bring you home. long is the journey east, 
but you must rest beside your ancestors.
this is the only way. your legs and arms
are stiff. your face is cold. it’s come to this - 
i write your name upon the yellow charm 
and press it to your forehead with a kiss -
come, we move by night. i dare not stop 
till dawn. we have a thousand miles to hop.


ii. new moon


the first night of each month, we used to dis- 
appear into the woods, our pathway lit
by glowing lichen. foxfire, i whis-
per in your ear. your fingers find my lips,
afraid to fright the spirits. my fur rises, 
ripples at your touch. between girls, skin
and silk our only coverings. this guise is
wearing thin. you’re pale and shivering,
less than a breath between us - then a laugh 
escapes - darling, your lips are ice! i fume
as you skip away, back home to him. enough
of driving hopping husbands through the gloom,
come run with me tonight. the new moon smiles 
her most mysterious of crooked smiles.


iii. eclipse


the signal fails. “just as the show got good!”
she swears. “damn husband casts a shadow here 
proportionate to his ego!” wu chops wood 
oblivious, the bunny pricks a ear.
she bitches on, “just as the ingenue 
confronts her sexual preference between 
the lesbian lycanthrope or undead beau, 
no signal!” wu chops wood like a machine.
she curses. “fuck!!” the bunny cocks its head, 
and wu chops wood. she punches a jade pillar, 
regrets it, and complains, “what’s to be said
for a woman trapped, with nothing to fulfil her 
except a furball or the living dead -
it’s bestiality or necrophilia.”


iv. breaking dawn


dawn on the pagoda. here i’ll stop
this woman’s madness. here i’ll make my stand. 
the union of the living and the hopp-
ing dead is an abomination. men 
should hew to what is natural and right.
i’ve bound her stiff-kneed husband’s corpse within 
the highest tier. she comes, all dressed in white, 
her green-sashed friend beside her. we begin.
“let my husband go!”, she screams. “ma’am, please 
fill in form 13b”, 
i drone. she whines,
“but i...” “room 5, queue number 93.”
muttering to herself, she gets in line.
i smirk. come demons, damsels, what have you - 
before me, girl, you’re gonna have to queue. 

Joshua Ip has the attention span of a poet and the love for poetry of a Singaporean. His first collection, sonnets from the singlish was published by Math Paper Press in 2012. He is currently working on censoring his second selection of erotic verse, tentatively titled making love with scrabble tiles.