There is a Moment

Alvin Pang

There is a moment
when the familiar becomes lost
and I am trying to find it.

It should be a gradual
process, the loosening of leaves
from the fold of bark. Instead

there is a clear point
of divide, between what is
and what you have known

like a boy who wakes up one morning
and clears his throat to find
his voice no longer his own.

It could be a similar instant
when a chick knows it is time
to tear down the walls of its shell

when an old man knows these
are the last monsoon rains
he will ever see.

We are blind beyond this point,
having come ourselves
from just such a moment as this.

So much time is spent
denying its presence, fending
it off with words, holding

back the sea with sand
castles as the tide comes in,
treating it like a stranger.

But when I find it I will ask it
its name, so that when it arrives
I can greet it and we can meet

face to face, equal and unafraid.

Published in Testing the Silence (1997)

Postcolonial Web Singapore OV Singaporean Literature Alvin Pang