Wild Court

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

Three poems by Karen Ng




From the corner of my eye
I take out the stars
crush each new flame
into a thousand embers
Purple pits
and spoiled stitches
answer the glare, repeat
the blank stare I keep
stomp out each trace
of contested traits

Swarm the gleam
in my own eye
and spit out the sight

Open the shrine
sever that plaque
and burn me. Somewhere

I am a star bent in the alley
way above the boy crying
as the lights were blown out
at his feet. Recite, recite
recite the plan you had for me
Keep still. Keep me
somewhere I can burn you
somewhere dim candles
can remind you
of my remains

Then leave out
that sharp edge, those tears
shred me like a contract
and skin the thread
unfurling from my neck

Drop dead on the earth
behind me. Hold
my hand until I slip
on the busted batteries
crawling from the torch

before I go out
look at me


    A fish living in the sky:


i saw the cloud wring its naval softness.
that weight pushed me over,
mimicked me, legless waving,
who, scale-ing stairs, sought seeping sanctuary
away from the sea. (ALIEN!)
the cloud, supple, light, taunted me:
that my belonging body shimmered,
that it scaled nine kg.



    The Light Follows Me Like a River


The end of the river is the neon
cast over her bent back in Yau Ma Tei.
It’s also where I live
and it’s easy to see her in the crowd –
a slow figure finding shelter
for the night again. Every day
I watch her from my sky-rise
as she prays for half-empty water bottles
and cardboard scraps. A shoe box. Packaging.
She leans into the same orange bin
as rain douses cigarettes above her.

The cigarette she blows out
is still upright like the scolded child
who left their mother on the streets
for the world.

And the red Wellcome is the fortune-teller
she can afford with $5
at the end of Temple Street.
Her hands are clasped together
behind her back. I think I heard her whisper
I want to meet mortality
like the apple rolling over
out of pink polyfoam.
Even in the landfill
it will take years to fill the earth.

When the old woman looks up
from her broken slippers
and the black gum on the street

is she looking for God or me?