Yong Shu Hoong

I did not want to embark
on a long conversation
but I knew I had launched him
and that it would probably be hard
for him to stop
especially after a beer or two
So I stood beside him
and played the good listener
occasionally nodding agreement
to remind him that I was there
as he rattled on about being a good Marine
ready to embrace uncertain fate
in some battered Third World
He spoke of the glory of sacrifice
priding himself on the warring spirit
inherited from Cherokee forefathers
But looking at how delicately
this freshly shaven head
was pivoted on the beef-fed torso
I thought instead about how young he really was
and how he could very possibly die
lying in the foam of his own blood
while half-dreaming about a wife
he could only remember
touching once or twice

Published in Isaac (1997)

Postcolonial Web Singapore OV Singaporean Literature Yong Shu Hoong