Some memories are a shoe
outgrown with the years.
The pearls of light hung on
the harbor like a necklace,
had been replaced by towers
rising from the bay, sparkling
like a studded shirtfront. I felt
my guts twist into a knot.
I tried to bring to mind the smell
of spices, of shrimp sizzling
in the stalls near the bleached sands
of Telok Chempedak, as the ship
eased toward its assigned berth.
I rummaged in my memory for lips
redolent of mint, and breasts
the hue of small, ripe bananas.
Fifty years have passed since
I sprinted up a gangplank, eager
to begin the journey home.
How could I know that day
I would never leave the arms
of the Eurasian girl from Singapore,
who'd live in my desire like loss,
unrecoverable as time passed.