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I ate all my greens. I was a good kid. My heart chewed into a leaf. The wind took it. The sky, blank & meditating, bore witness to everything. How spoon carves into soup, like key trying to find its lock. Funny that the Chinese spinach has no known origin despite its name. This weed that took over continents & colonies. This hollowness sprouting along rivers, waiting to be steeped in oyster sauce. In Southeast Asia, we say kangkong. In the school bus, I recognise the sizzling of Hokkien and Malay slurs. Their sodium stench stains my tofu skin, even after hours of scrubbing. In bed, I bend over to a boy who refuses to finish his vegetables. He plucks tender shoots off his plate, forms tablecloth trash pile. He is a spice I have learnt to swallow; his grease simmering inside. I smell nothing about my childhood in him: the hawkers’ wok-song, the cleaners’ cart-rattle, the sweat-stained seats. We were good kids. And yet, moulded from different recipes: he was preserved in garden salad & I, stir-fried with garlic. We weren’t lovers, just weeds in the city. Blades of dried grass emerging from asphalt. A variegation of rootlessness.

 

¹ water spinach



Andy Winter (they/them/theirs) is a non-binary ice goddess living in the warm tropics of Singapore. They dream of queer kampungs and celestial realms. They do not wish to be perceived. Find their chilling words at https://whispersinwinter.wordpress.com/.
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