Different Ways of Saying Love

The only things that outnumber
or can match the stars are sand,
dead souls and spoken words.

Do you hear that clicking sound?
It’s from that stopped clock
on the second floor. Sometimes
its big hand remembers its time and ticks.
Then it really remembers its time.
And stops again.

One time, I drew my predecessor’s head
based on her pictures you keep.
I couldn’t get her eyes right.
Lips, hair, moles. All wrong.

I mean to say at night
the deer

I imagine I can complete your sentences,
but my expressions almost always
aren’t your own, and annoyed,
you start from the beginning again.
I once said fuck
when you were going to say Spain.

You and I have come this far.
Sometimes I count the steps
and forget that no one else
is walking on this path but us.

Previously published in Golden Sparrow Magazine.

Tammy Ho Lai-Ming is a Hong Kong-born writer. She is a founding co-editor of Cha and an editor of Victorian Network. Her first poetry collection is Hula Hooping (Chameleon Press, 2015). Tammy’s “Sweet Heart” and “In Private, I Write to You My Lady” are also in Reprint.

Object(s) to bring back to life: “My paternal grandmother. She passed away before my sisters and I had the ability to make money. If she were alive, I would like to take her to dim sum and buy her very plush things. I would like to show her a little of the world instead of putting imported oranges on the altar for her ghost. Impossible to bring back: The time when I was oblivious to the difference between ‘l’ and ‘r’. The days when people were not obsessed with iPhones and other similar devices. A cooler Earth.”