Hot Desk Extract: irritated at: the couple, a closed door
As part of the Wheeler Centre’s Hot Desk Fellowship programme, Wen-Juenn Lee worked on a collection of poems for her manuscript something coiled, then flickering. The excerpt below forms part of the collection, which explores her relationship with distance, desire, and God.
In my dreams, there is a couple & a closed door.
I’m saying to the door, don’t you know that I’m
grieving? The couple & I, the couple laughing & I
the couple wishing it was tomorrow already.
My father saying, ‘If I had known that I was loved,
I wonder what I would have done,’ love as something
to arm yourself with, why my friends won’t look at me
why I cook your dinner in my dreams.
There is holiness in distance, as if our faith & desire is
deeply painful, as if the only way to love is through a
gap & a veil with a hole where the eye should be.
I cannot help but feel like my mourning is another test
of which I am passing, can you see my tears
they are a gift. The tears of saints as something
dazzling, this is why everyone remembers the shortest line
in the Bible: ‘Jesus wept.’ I am a crybaby, a big baby
I could mourn professionally if you need me.
The tragedy of the couple lies somewhere in the river
where the fish begin their stories & I watch rocks
turn to sand. I mimic this when I gurgle, when I
think of you, surrounded by all that water. Sometimes
you are kneeling & that image hurts the most.
I just miss you, Vita Sackville-West wrote, in a simple
human way. Let this be a sign.
Photo: Wen-Juenn Lee
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