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A MOMENT AT A HOUSEWARMING PARTY


--by Tammy Ho Lai-Ming


Two felines materialised from nowhere,
one grey, one fading bronze
with glass eyes blindingly bright.
In the living room where I smoked a cheap
cigar for the first time, the desktop speakers
vomited music that was apt
for hip-dancing.

Pictures tattooed the walls,
white and navy blue.

"Nowhere to shit the ash!" I shouted into
one exquisite ear. A pair of hands
then formed a flesh bowl ornamented
with palm lines. I exhaled obvious
drowsiness, though midnight was
too early to retire.

More people climbed in through the first floor window.
The apartment was like a tree house, lowly built.
For a second, I thought we were
a collection of birds -

pecking half-rounds of brie,
drinking White Russians, smoking each other's breath
and waiting - waiting a lifetime,
for the calm outside,
oppressive and taciturn,
to subside.

("A Moment at a Housewarming Party" was first published in Softblow and reprinted in New Works Review.)