Shadow & Other Poems

by Esther Vincent


on Trump, from Singapore

You wetted his
tyranny by keeping

feeding him
poison and power
until one day

his shadow speaks
as it slices your skin;

You flee


I scream as your soul gets bartered piece by piece

on Singapore’s urban redevelopment policy

In London, they keep six ravens
captive to the superstitions of the Crown.
Imagine being born with wings only to find them
clipped and useless for flight, only intermittent
perching, handicapped on a well-manicured lawn,
well-fed more than the beggars on the streets,
but forever in debt to serve out a sentence
never tried in court in the name of Tradition.

Yesterday, when I looked out the window I
counted eleven white egrets on the far end of
the field, a flock of migratory birds that dared to
defy the concrete and metal of a city who had long
turned her back on her primeval roots.
Eleven white egrets, like the eleven wild swans on the
pages of a Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale book who were
actually eleven princes cursed under an evil spell; but
they had a sister to save them.

Before they cut your belly open to mark it with a Y-pavement
the field was visited by wild dogs, one black and
the other brown, both comfortable and
content enough to lie in each other’s solitude;
they were kings. Once, I caught sight of a
long-tailed shrike that seemed to scream out
against the monotony of mynas and
indiscretions we have taken to pillage our forests
in a poor exchange for brick and glass that promise
us the same things in a different guise; a desire to forget
and atone for our sins. Twice, the black-naped oriole.

In the 28 years of my life, I have only seen a squirrel
thrice; and even then you should have seen how we both
jumped in fright as we jolted each other from
our private reveries in recognition of the other’s existence.
Eleven, six, three, two, one…
The second hand trips over the minute hand,
shoving the hour hand and I see the clock going
tick, tick, tick, tock, tock, tock, tick, tock, tick, tick –

the pounding and shrieking of a city who
bartered her birth right for a bowl of soup.


All in favour of #theConservativeMajority, Wear White!

on the ‘Wear White’ campaign against Pink Dot Singapore, 2014

The devil doesn’t wear
Prada but the
pious garb of
pour me another glass of

Modern day pastors and
pull the cards of Religion and
in the name of
crucify and slay the
LGBT community.

Rally! Rally! Wear White!
(This will mark our
superiority, foster our
solidarity and lambast the
Pink Dot for gay rights is an

Wear White! Rally! Rally!
(For white symbolises
innocence and purity,
it will keep you
safe, have faith!)

White, the hallmark of
modernity, where individual
sexuality faces scrutiny under the
watchful eye of
Organised Religion and
Good Governance.

Pour me another glass of bigotry,
cheers to #theConservativeMajority!


Editor’s Note on Shadow & Other Poems

I scream as your soul gets bartered piece by piece: First published in New Asian Writing
All in favour of #theConservativeMajority, wear white!: First published in Feminine Collective
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