Nicholas Y.H. Wong

A Room of One's Own

Because the room is open to associations
the window becomes room to itself

Because the window becomes room to itself
a room's dry fire must reflect hell

Because a room's dry fire must reflect hell
the snow outside relinquishes a leaf

Because the snow outside relinquishes a leaf
inside widows let down their hair

Because inside widows let down their hair
men love men in the recess of fate

Because men love men in the recess of fate
rivers of ravens drive God past windows

Because rivers of ravens drive God past windows
candles inside drip rage over shadows

Because candles inside drip rage over shadows
the world bends over itself and coughs

Because the world bends over itself and coughs
life ignores the gentle poet

Because life ignores the gentle poet
life is that poet failing to listen

Because life is that poet failing to listen
shades roll silent under petticoats outside

Because shades roll silent under petticoats outside
the crime of living is in justifying what is

beyond the crime, the living and the justified
beyond which, no action trammels the noun

and the room, finally, is open to associations.


Nicholas Y.H. Wong is a Malaysian poet and is currently pursuing his phD in Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago. He is a recipient of two Academy of American Poets Awards and his works have been published in The Columbia Review, The Rialto, Southeast Asian Review, among others.

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