If you forbid anything loudly enough it’s bound
to come back to haunt you. Can I help it that I
am so full of rivers they spill ceaseless into
the sink—can I help it that porcelain is the only
god I recognise clearly enough to bow to. In
the mirror I see shadow-wifed, stomach-carved.
I stare at myself so long the lightbulbs burn out,
so long my hunger leaves my body & flits like
an angel into the glass of the mirror, trapped
long after I fall asleep, awake always & watching
for weakness. There is a great sorrow & it is made
of bone beneath skin & fat & muscle, bone
untouched like the underside of a freshly washed
pillow. I go somewhere after my eyes close at
night—we all know this well by now—but it’s
anyone’s guess as to whether my hunger is
the one leading me further into the darkness or
the one calling me back awake. If there is an
answer it must live in the choice we make each
time we open our mouths between praying &
devouring. Lucky one, speak to me only in song.
I too am desperately lonely & when I say this
I hope you hear thank you.
Topaz Winters is the author of three collections of poetry (most recently Portrait of My Body as a Crime I’m Still Committing, a finalist in the Broken River & Gaudy Boy Poetry Book Prizes) & editor-in-chief of the arts organisation Half Mystic. Her peer-reviewed research on poetry, identity, & queerness in Singapore is published in the Journal of Homosexuality & is taught at the University of Southern California’s doctorate programme in educational leadership. She has been published in Sundog Lit, DIALOGIST, & Cosmonauts Avenue &profiled by The Straits Times, The Business Times, & the Boston Poetry Slam, among others. She was a featured author at the 2019 Singapore Writers Festival. Topaz was born in 1999 & is in her second year at Princeton University. She is in love with most quiet things, & she is grateful you’re here.