I Hope One Day You Will Learn How to Use the Oyster Knife

Canterbury 2009

I make a list of things I don’t know: 1) The precise hue of your beard when you’re pouring me wine. 2) The name of the kind of bread you bake. 3) The probably obscene words you scribbled next to a Shakespearean sonnet when you were young. 4) Where did you buy those checkered pants? 5) How to eat such a huge and juicy apple you give me. 6) The difference between a heavy raindrop and a snowflake seen on a languishingly moving bus. 7) The wettest months in your home town, known for the shells and Yeats. 8) When you’re snoring in metrical beats, what enters your mind? 9) Were the first pair of chopsticks you used made of ivory, wood, or steel? 10) The accurate lexeme to describe the softness of your lips. 11) The physics explaining why it’s pleasing to see a paperback sitting in your hand. 12) If you cooked cloud ear mushroom for other friends. 13) The duration of time you spent on selecting the perfect hair dryer for me. 14) The variety of cocktails you’ve invented as a bartender. 15) When we were in your favourite café (cute Victorian prints on one wall), were you disappointed that I didn’t know how to order a latte? 16) Whether you like the overwhelming verbal attention I’m giving you. 17) How was it possible that we missed Apollinaire’s grave, you fool? 18) The location of that mysterious full body mirror you claimed you own. 19) The length of your DNA remaining in a girl’s mouth after you’ve kissed her for the first time, hungrily, in your living room.

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Tammy Ho Lai-Ming is a Hong Kong-born writer currently based in London, UK. She is a founding co-editor of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal and the poetry editor of Fleeting magazine. Her photography has previously been published in Stirring, Juked, Litterbox, and Subliminal Interiors, among other places. More at sighming.com.

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