Three False Hearts

“It’s a saying they have, that a man has a false heart in his mouth for the world to see, another in his breast to show to his special friends and his family, and the real one, the true one, the secret one, which is never known to anyone except to himself alone, hidden only God knows where.”

-James Calvell, “Shogun” (1975)


it is the memory
of leaving on a Sunday from the

walls of a HDB flat, knowing it’ll
be a week before we met again. That

years later, it would be reversed: that
I ditch my fake parents for real ones.

My piety flickers like a light switch.
I eat dinner with you, watch the

quietness you never bore.


surely, an age of maturity:
the familiar has become farcical
and the house has become a bunker.
my friends have all become
neighbouring countries
and I – certainly,
am no longer


surely, these words I share,
worth less than rice,
dissipate quickly.
The rest,
I keep within myself, like
the seeds of a half-eaten apple.

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