See Siong Gan
In the past, Chinese travelers bring a pinch of home soil
And vials of water,
To add to the foreign diet, to help them acclimatize.
Alone in Beijing, despite the emails, mobile and SMS
I sought solace in my wifeís letters -
A few aerograms, decades old
Like faithful Christians doing their nightly quiet time
I sojourn with the runaway alphabets,
Tracing their loops and troughs, dashes, abrupt stops,
The scribbles, cross-outs, makeovers, the graceful curlicues;
Essence of her thoughts archived.
(They are a decade old Ė old as the onslaught of the mobile telephony.
For practical reasons we donít write each other anymore - who does?)
Those mushy, physical ink-on-paper phrases, they assuage me.
And like good old home soil, I took a generous dollop
And wash them down
With her words of caution
To be careful, to write, and to sleep well