Tim Tim Cheng - Poems

Tim Tim Cheng


A flower’s captive
of two fingers
pressed against
a shut eye. I
no longer see
a red cave
but a fury
of stars.


There had been mornings in which you woke to unfamiliar ceilings.
Those cloudless, clueless second skies stared at you long after you left.
Past the uncoupled freight train carriages, past the birch-lined path
punks with bad teeth told you about, you returned
home on legs that briefly parodied the excitement of sea snakes.

You gazed up the unchanging ceiling as you lay half-asleep, slightly
tickled by the ruffles of overhead clothes, bewitched by the black ridges
and white furs of molds on the walls. There had been spiders the size
of a nail in your direction. You knew full well that their silk wasn’t his sweat
trickling down your forehead, and they weren’t the off-springs of the

black widow inked on his back. ‘But there had been us, ngo5dei6, my land 我地
from Boddinstrasse, Vimodrone to Hanoi!’ The muteness
took trips on the keyboard. The sky stayed wet above
heads continents — and several steps of confidence — apart.




Blossoms terrify me.
Gaping, they let out their interior
without shame, as if asking
why can’t you be as open?

And now my skin is ripening with them.
This thin colony itches, peeling.
Sloughed scales cover my couch,
floating by bright windows.

I can smell my immunity, sweet
as a stranger. Scratching
is to turn myself inside out,
to declare barriers invalid.


Dried gardens inside ziplock bags
crunch—snake chunks, citrus peels,
cicada-skins, small shrubs,
and different-sized wooden discs,
all sealed in a barcode
and the clinic's cross.

I boil such ancient contents
with three bowls of tap water
into a brown swamp
best served warm,
and down the throat-drying bitterness.
Its yellow-rimmed crescent
stagnates, thick with dregs
at the bottom of my bowl— 

Healing is methods
no cream, no pill this time,
just some prunes
in crumpled wrappers,
their sticky tang to get me through.




'Ceiling' was originally published in EDGE, a HKBU Creative Journal (now dysfunct); an earlier version of 'Eczema' was published in a Hong Kong-based print journal called 'Voice & Verse Poetry Magazine'.



Copyright © Tim Tim Cheng, 2022.