Wild Court

An international poetry journal based in the English Department of King’s College London

Cosmo Davenport-Hines Prize 2024 winner: Rochelle Ruo Xuan Lee

Rochelle Ruo Xuan Lee

musings from the other end of homesickness

—when i get to see my parents again; the whole time
i will cheat my way to normal as if home isn’t an old
archive catalogue peeking errant, sheepish under the desk
a test of past lives falling victim against each other
hereafter we will be friends who pretend to keep in touch
without trick of the light age will begin to thaw out between
memory and reality: snowed in the ivy threads of my mother’s
feathery scalp, fleeting creases of birds imprinted over my
father’s temples, splitting at the brows i get from him, pain into
dull air. age will take up the places of their children nowhere to
be seen. salt-lipped on secondhand grief i will tell them that i have
been settling down nicely here in london—bus rides round
trafalgar square, covent garden gloss, poets’ corner set in stone
graffiti protests and glass puddles over iridescent asphalt
sunless laughter from one side of the thames to the other;
galleries of greats in a champagne flute; strangers kissing by the
shoulders—what i’ll keep to myself: how when the tube pulls
roaring into the platform i can feel it crush me. how i resent that
my commute is someone else’s school bus or hometown train,
crammed with unspecial signages i linger slowly over with
the naive swallowing sentimentality of the lost and losing

how i’m the asian supermarket’s biggest sucker but
chinatown is not my dinner table back home with my grandma
how i will always fall through the net of the city it seems, an
unrelenting geography of twin cinema; holding steady
one foot on the tightrope all starving artists are bound to cross
and the other deadknotted high in the gambit of opportunity
the sacred word so sacred that it might not even exist
how passion and potential alone cannot make a life
how liminal used to be my favourite word but mourning that
transience of noneness or bothness or allness implies an end point
when i will always be a sliding scale of half-renditions in tireless
inertia, haunting me all a little differently, tilting me facefirst
from one alternate universe to another to another to another view
from the eurostar pulling away from your parents on the
platform—no, the customs gate. a blind spot from your window.
it’s every train from now on that you will be getting on alone
i love you, i’ll say to them, trying to make it count when really
i’m trying to make out a future from inside the centre of a straw
maybe i’ll have less than what i started with the only thing for me
to claim mine all mine being that perfect tense of thinking about—