they looked innocent enough, these green rice balls dusted
with grated coconut. you think anything pandan-flavoured
must taste good, be good enough to keep you from wanting.
except no one told you that the first mistake is to hesitate.
you’ve never eaten one before so you bite into half of it,
only to have gula melaka burst out and forth, away from
your half-open mouth, brown sugary streaks now settling
into carpet before your hands can even cup the spill. so here,
you have half an ondeh ondeh, damp and limp in your palm.
suppose this is what it feels like to be a butterfly unfolding
its sticky, wet wings for the first time, only to see that its
world has not changed. only the beating rush of new wings,
hammering and then peeled apart by shaking fingers.
crumbled back into grated coconut at the end of its lifespan.
say that it lived as fiercely as it could against its own teething,
a kind of longing for a wider wingspan, for the surety of a
migrating monarch butterfly, to be one for whom nectar and flight
is enough. eating and longing cannot sit on the same wings yet.
later, you quell the trembling and finish eating from your own hand.
one more bite, and then nothing left but sticky fingers to wash.
where everything / narrows down / to the way he says / restaurant / do not laugh / it does not have to be / a good restaurant / i am thinking of / eating again / eating because / i have learnt / to love / myself / but i also eat / if i may admit / because i love / not so much and just / you / but / to you / in some shape or form / because i want / to eat with you / always watch / the way you / hold your chopsticks / fingers curled then flexed / the shape of your mouth / there is no question / feelings sharper / over time / a wet knife on the whetstone / we’ve never / eaten together / just the two / of us / something / out of the rubble / of food scraps / i am asking you / to be in the kitchen / with me / bear witness and testimony / to these feelings / give me a reason / to learn how / to peel and slice a mango / scrape a mango clean from its skin / to share, sticky sweet / fold a dumpling like / a love letter / what makes / a kitchen? / takeout rolls of chee cheong fun / every clinging bite / a reminder of / the slope of your neck / turned away / visions of fine bone china / porcelain / plates, spoons, chopsticks / meat eaten clean to the bone / things that i imagine / you like to eat / i’d make / lotus root soup / the soup spoon / a sweet kiss / every meal hereafter / a direction / towards you
is a final-year Literature major and writer from Singapore. Her work has been published in SingPoWriMo 2018: The Anthology and This Is Not A Safety Barrier (2016). When she's not wrestling with her poems or creative nonfiction pieces, she can be found napping, cooking, or knitting at home.
Copyright for all work remains with the author thereof and any requests to reprint should be made directly.
Issue 1 © SPOONFEED Magazine
SPOONFEED x New Writing © Caitlin Allen
Issue 2 © Louise Crosby