In the summer, we gather all
that is left behind, parched fences
and leather-jacketed men

plying marijuana with smiles.
Friends can be everywhere
these days, at corner shops

excavating the latest gossip
or smoking in alleyways
where graffiti hides

undamaged. Late afternoon,
a flock of schoolboys
descend on the avenue

with undone shoelaces
and a bruised football,
roads echoing

their frenzied cries.
From our apartment
the commotion is refreshing,

nothing for the ones
who simply observe
to take or return. Summer,

almost virgin
in its complacency,
works beside us,

releasing dust
from empty streets,
no signs or omens

etched in colourless sky.
We stick our heads out
the window, ready

to watch light
depart from the streets
in our eyes.

 

Jerrold Yam

Jerrold Yam

Born in 1991, Jerrold Yam is a law undergraduate at University College London and the author of poetry collections Scattered Vertebrae (Math Paper Press, 2013) and Chasing Curtained Suns (Math Paper Press, 2012). His third collection is forthcoming in 2014. His poems have been published across twenty countries in more than seventy literary journals, including Axon, Counterexample Poetics, Mascara Literary Review, Poetry Pacific, Prairie Schooner, Third Coast, Wasafiri and Washington Square Review, as well as featured by Overseas Singaporean Unit, Poetry Society (UK), Singapore Memory Project, Southeast Asia Globe, The Arts House, The Straits Times, The Substation and elsewhere. His work has been selected for anthologies such as Off the Rocks (2014), Mildly Erotic Verse (2013), Petua (2013), Ayam Curtain (2012) and Moving Words (2011). He has won first prize and three honourable mentions at the National University of Singapore Creative Writing Competition 2011, first prize at the British Council History and the City Competition 2011, runner-up at the Poetry Book Society Student Poetry Competition 2013, and is the youngest Singaporean to be nominated for the Pushcart Prize at twenty years old in 2012. He has been featured at Interrobang Festival, London Book Fair and Singapore Writers Festival, and invited to speak at various educational institutions in Singapore such as National University of Singapore, Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) and Anglican High School. His poems, which are taught in Singaporean schools, have recently been translated into Spanish.

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