Natalie Chin

Natalie Chin (b. 1992) grew up in Singapore and lives in London. She is the Literary Editor of Galavant Magazine and graduates from University College London in 2015.

More work/info: http://herbonestructure.com & http://twitter.com/herbonestrcture.

gulou, beijing

this is how it ends: combing through
the darkness for a string of lit lanterns

indicative at this hour of a misty place
that we could still get dumplings from

drunk exhaustion overwritten by
the tiny hope of bowls of warmth

in a narrow alley my umbrella falls to
your side as you stop to hold still

for a second before leaning in to
press your lips against mine

small clouds of doom shivering
their way down my back

softer blows bruising faster than the rain
and burying the last of our dreams

into these neighbourhoods of dead cats
lined by century old walls & left so far behind

where being near & the desire of each other
obscures any ability for us to begin to understand

or to identify the point in time at which
things began its slow unravelling

and each time you reach for my hand it feels
like a light somewhere flickers out a little more

as though what i know only returns
me to a childhood of loneliness

where not being able to understand
is a darker slice of pain than pain itself

& no matter how hard you look there are
no recognisable pieces left for you to pick up

there is always more to know

and after a while
you stop asking questions

give up on trying to drag
more information to the surface

lying on your bed while
he uses the bathroom

there are only so many
explanations you can come up with

before you remember being
present only by way of comparison

the unnamed other in a text
in which someone else is

described as being more
everything you don’t want to be

no longer mutually fixed
as the only other point

your body is tethered to while
silently the world orbits around

in two lines so quickly rendering
the past six months void

and you’d think that what you
would first feel is anger

or your eyes getting wet in
a waterfall of disappointment

but even as your hands
turn into fists and you look

at them thinking all i
know is how to lose

you feel something
gathering in your limbs

tightening through
your throat your mouth

your body freezing any
emotion into the single thought

that even though you
don’t know how or where

you have to run
flight 851

something flushes pink in the distance
as you enter here on foot, & it feels like

you’re sleepwalking & somewhere
unnoticed a clock begins to bleed

the minutes left before the next few
hours lose their shape of control

ticking through honeyed sunsets
and beyond the confines of this city

while by the southern gates streams of
people leave their uniformed lives behind

streaming back into the world, driven not by
a sense of direction but the desire to keep moving

and each time you look up you catch yourself
searching every passing face for hers

as if the physicality of her body could
provide some form of final evidence

therefore stamping
permanence into your throat

as you, in your summer shoes,
two weeks’ of clothes trailing behind

wade through the dream
in which you wake up

only to find that there was
no one waiting on the other side

ladies first

with yr hands you pull yr stockings
back up   snapping tight against skin

this is the power you still have:
saying no   saying you can do whatever

you want to     but so can i

even though there are full moons

on nights when being alone feels like
a lake someone can drink his way out of

even as every past memory is
irrefutably divided into the horror of

“before” & “after”  as you teach yourself
to skate along the edge of an image

disposing of it quicker each time
without approaching any of its content

because the answers being given to
you only cast an interim shade

temporary relief that does not remain
when the leaves lift with the wind

anyway—you have the choice now
the same drink-drenched

coin toss he made at the
back of his head is also yours

you’ll get stronger
each time you make it

Video produced in London, July 2014.