Chien, Ngoi Hui. “Grains of Memories.”
Transnational Literature. Vol. 13, Oct 2021
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Grains of Memories

A handful of rice slips from my palm
grains of loss, grains of void

Ringing against the bottom of the pot
echoing vibrations of anticipation
like a bag of coins
poured on a table
coins collected by my mother
with many suns and moons
coins ready to be counted and stacked
and taken to the market where mornings evaporate
where hawking and bargaining pierce through the air
where foods and groceries jump into the housewives’ baskets
there my mother would exchange the coins for notes
to send to grandma
living in a far-off fishing village
wreathed in the briny breeze
her small house is carved with distance and

A handful of rice slips from my palm
knocking against the bottom of the pot
in which I will cook a meal of memories
about fulfilment, about completeness
a meal that is not so important on this land
that does not taste the same
on the tongue of the western air

Time is ticking
like rice falling into a pot

Grains of loss
grains of void

Ngoi Hui Chien

Ngoi Hui Chien is a Malaysian who recently completed an MA in English Literature at the University of Leeds. His research interests encompass trauma literature, psychoanalysis, philosophy, postcolonialism, and ecocriticism. He is committed to literary criticism and creative writing. His ideas are drawn from both anglophone and sinophone literatures.