Monday 5 May 2014

2 Poems by Jerrold Yam


Peeling it off
in half-slumber,
my fingers
aroused by the scent
of pliant tissue, such are
the ways the body
destroys itself: angiogenesis,
fibroblasts, granulation,
how Grandma nurses
her fear of sleep before
waking to her surprise.


The first time I sit on a breathing animal,
his reins in my palms
like something I am tasked to protect,
I can almost be running with equal purpose,
not bothered by the moving on
or the leaving behind. Placing my cheek
on his carpet of worn furs, it is like
resting on Grandma’s hands,
at the hospital where she prepares us
for the journey she must forge
alone. Already my palms hurt
from the labour of resisting
what no one understands
as grace. When the time comes
I shall know whom to believe.


Born 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 sixty 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 the Pushcart Prize. (

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