Fiona Tinwei Lam is a Scottish-born, Vancouver-based writer. Her work
has been published in Canadian literary magazines and anthologies, and
has also been featured on local transit as part of B.C.'s Poetry in
Transit program. Her book of poetry, Intimate Distances, was
a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award. Twice short-listed
for the Event literary non-fiction prize, she is a co-editor of and
contributor to Double Lives: Writing and Mothering, an anthology
of personal essays by diverse literary writers (McGill-Queen's University
Press, 2008). Her new collection of poetry, (Caitlin Press, 2009) is
about family, love and loss.
Caitlin Press: Enter the Chrysanthemum.
Some days, although we cannot pray, a prayer utters
First, the egg.
I teach him the way I taught myself,
food group by food group
through the tattered cookbook.
I break the eggs; he stirs them.
A flick of salt, a few drops of cream.
I heat the pan, grate the cheese.
He pours the eggs in. Opacity
spreads from the edges inward:
an ocean sizzles into land.
Perched on the countertop,
he observes me like the scientist
he might become.
I flip one side over. Voila!
Last night, we played a game
and pulled a card. What would the world
come to in a hundred years?
I feared a polluted war zone
unless humankind changed.
He said we'd live on Mars.
I pour the claret tea as fragrant
as a berry patch into the good cups.
Warming his hands, he wiggles his fingers
through the prospect of clouds.
He stirs in the honey, licks the spoon,
says Thank you bees.
White cyclamen on the table. Blaze of winter
sun through trees. A plate
of simple food. Beside us,
the ones we love.