Quarterly Literary Review Singapore
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Vol. 2 No. 3 Apr 2003

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The Acid Tongue
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It was still dark, the rest of the house
fast asleep. She made herself a cup of coffee
and sat down to write: “Blood
in a woman’s dream can mean
many things. It can bode purging of life
from tortured wombs - Kashmir or Kosovo,
or one’s own - or it can mean Kali’s earth-bound-
clod-of-tomato-ketchup tongue lashing
a restless night. Or it can merely suggest
the advent of that eternally agonizing period
of the month. Or, that one just needs to rise
and drink some water - Freud, of course,
would have had a different explanation.”

She wrote, as the sun rose gingerly and stood
outside the window, licking the panes awake.
When she went back to sleep, she dreamed
of thirst and water turning to blood in her mouth.
(She was no stranger to nightmares,
but this was something else.)
She spat it out, and a raging vermilion
cloaked the porcelain tiles of her Victorian bath
where she was in her dream.
“The more I spat, the more my mouth filled
with blood,” she wrote in a letter
later that day. “Until the bathroom was covered
in red, and it looked like slaughter.”

By Eugene Datta

QLRS Vol. 2 No. 3 Apr 2003


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  Other Poems in this Issue

The Wall
By Eugene Datta.

Beethoven, Opus 92
By Zhang Ruihe.

By Ng Shing Yi.

The News
By Joanne Leow.

Second Day of Mourning
By Gaston Ng.

You make it easy to leave you
By Wendy Gan.

By Grace Chua.

Memento Mori X
By Yeow Kai Chai.


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