Jerrold Yam

Having completed National Service in Singapore, Jerrold Yam will be pursuing undergraduate Law at University College London in September 2012. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Enchanting Verses Literary Review, Mascara Literary Review, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Ceriph, Softblow, Symbal, Moving Words 2011: A Poetry Anthology, Singapore Memory Project and The Substation Love Letters Project. His debut book of poetry will be released in early 2012.


After the gamble, still or sparkling, comes breadsticks

rooted in sea salt, alabaster soil, their tendrils

like branches conspiring toward lamplight, they are

going for the same thing, the nourishment

which decides someone else’s failure. A treat—

scanning the menu like a family tree, your eye

sipping columns of carne and pesce to beam

back the worth of your establishment, your illustrious

silver-haired crime. Of course, as any jury

in a court of paper justice, we know the boundaries,

how not to expect devotion aside from the gastronomic, no talk

of simmering in iron cubicles, the week

denied, then consumed in hushed incisions.

How dust claims ownership of every dormant skin,

even knives. When the bill arrives

numbers fill our heads, we each choose one and

exclaim as in an auction, the price of eating together,

your hands bound like rope on the table, satisfied,

the aftermath hauled into harmony, a successful thing,

this is our game, guessing the worth of things to

find every answer lacking.

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