[the poetry billboard] - 'Tracing Back' by Meijin Jaclyn Lim
Tracing Back

Meijin Jaclyn Lim

Two stalls. Ang-mo's and the one
Behind your grandparents' place.
You have to walk along the alleyway,
And then cross the road
Where now only Bus 33 runs through.
Your parents will only eat from the one
Behind your grandparents' place.

Ma will tell you of years ago-
Twenty years to be exact-
How Pa courted her with
Bowls of these noodles,
Spicy as she liked it, and
Of sitting on low wooden stools,
Amidst squatting sweaty males
Fresh out from lounge hostesses.

No candles?
You asked incredulously,
Slurping the clear soup
Only regulars know of, in the
Same cockerel-patterned
Ceramic bowl,
From which you had only just finished
The hand-made noodles:

The flour-strings that
Goes further back
Than you can ever remember
All the way back as it,
Knotting up your parents' lives,
Leads down and
Down to you.