My Grandfather Road
To start at point A. To enter
the tunnel of time, framed by strategically
pruned trees and the after-images
of what had stood, or not. To
embrace the new, the never-
before here. To trace a thin thread
of silver that links with points B
and C – Pandora charms, unexpected
gems – before it turns into a river of blue
on Google Maps, towards D. Here
is the house where we once lived, no longer
recognisable. Where is the starfruit tree
in our backyard? What about the neighbours
with their thicket of figs? If I don't plug
myself into Spotify, can I still hear the buzz
of pasar malam, the calls of particular birds,
or the tok-toks of a noodle-seller
prowling the corridors of nearby flats?
The running thoughts continue
towards my target of 10,000 steps,
towards E and F. Have these murals
always been guarding the sports complex?
My grandfather road and its offshoots
do not bear the names of my beloved:
Stirling Road, Queensway, Margaret Drive.
As I walk towards G, I'm instead repeating
the names of the dead: dear grandpa,
dear grandma… step by step, remembering
my dialect, word for word, how to pronounce
love in the first tongue I've ever known.
By Yong Shu HoongQLRS Vol. 21 No. 2 Apr 2022
Copyright © 2001-2023 The Authors