For My Old Amah

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By Wong Phui Nam.

To most your dying seems distant
outside the railings of our concern.
Only to you the fact was real
when the flame caught among the final brambles
of your pain. And lying there
in this cubicle, on your trestle
over the old newspapers and spittoon,
your face bears the waste of terror
at the crumbling of your body's walls.
The moth fluttering against the electric bulb,
and on the walls the old photographs,
do not know your going. I do not know
when it has wrenched open the old wounds.
When branches snapped in the dark
you would have had a god among the trees
who made us a journey of your going.
Your palms crushed the child's tears from my face.
Now this room will become your going, brutal
in the discarded combs, the biscuit tins
and neat piles of your dresses.

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