—turning a year older, turning the year: I am
descaling, keeling my tongue, shucking
cheek blades, unthroating glutinous words.
Sloughing off sand and sheath, I am
myself despite myself. The brille
shield over my eyes ossifies, the air
grows dim. I get used to the world
as a ribbed sock over my head.
No need for friends who shout


“Snake! Snake!” I am too tired
to tup the hour, or till the spleen.
My ecdysis is a slow fanged vestigial
eruption into limblessness. Over there,
myself shed, and I am naked,
I suppose, whispering the same pitiful
forked tongue. Voices and choices:
here, there; Singlish, English; lions, logic;
pulau, pura; trees, forest; apples, Gods;
sleeps, deaths. A breath
intercalated between each pair,
an uncertain anatomy of Eden,
a pause, until—








The sun works the earth.
We walk the road.
Farmer Evelyn composts the hours.


Windows open in the sky.
Neo Tiew is cumulus soil,


rumbling with the sower’s timbre.
Afternoons grow veins
measured in leaves.


Teachers shade students like trees.
These Gardeners of New Worlds


strike camp with organic soap,
comb rice through raw leaves,
break eggs, shepherd sleep.


One learns, lying on concrete,
nothing living is evil.


Everyone takes their turn
to be eaten. Praise
the Earthworm of the Brain.


Before lunch, we feed hunger
with names: earth king leaf, winged beans.


One day, we’ll till
the land, as we turn our hands,
meat for the tale


the tongue tells over crop seeds:
edible kayotsarga.