Bidhya Limbu (she/her) is a Nepali-Singaporean writer and poet. Much of her work revolves around the themes of grief, healing and identity. Fearfully, boldly, Bidhya is intent on sharing stories born out of the sudden loss of her parents and brother—capturing their beautiful lives, and hers, in the wake of their death. Currently, she is pursuing the perfect cup of coffee, and a BA in Psychology.
the sun betrays you by drying your hands and your feet
the sand gets caught between your toes caught in your hair caught in
your chest, which pumps blood that belongs to
your ancestors, they gave you mountain lungs
but when i got to the little bridge at macritchie, i turned my back to the buildings
imagined your bare feet trailing over the unpaved roads and unpruned trees and your hands
gripping unwashed mangoes, cupping water from a hole in the ground straight to your lips
taking a second to catch my breath,
i imagined the air i was breathing was
water connects you to home, at least
we scatter half your ashes in the bagmati¹ and the other half in east coast park
airport security opened the bag up and stared at me,
in shock, when i told them it was you
in it, were countless reasons why i should be grateful
that day, the sky was a violent velvet blue
why is the sea also a violent velvet blue?
because it scatters the light coming from the sun the sky
they are the same, the sea is doesn't know how to be
not the same! what you gave to me still belongs to you (all that belonged to me was
you) made my bones from scratch, mama
and no matter what you think, i have not broken them
once, i remembered that the homeland is landlocked
the waters from the himalayas run down into rivers
the rivers run through india then only into the sea
and before it gets to me, it has passed though many more hands and lands and off the sides of
boats so big, mama, you cannot imagine—it really is
so different from each other they cannot be made compatible
but i'll do it, mama,
i'll bury my feet in the sand,
let the waves thrash onto me, i'll be less afraid, after all
god has adorned our race to be the gorkhali²—the brave, the bold, the
undefeatable, so i'll stop arguing.
so i'll tell you that the rivers you love, run down to me—
maybe just a droplet or two—but they run down to me.
you sit in the shade, pouring yourself a steaming cup of ciya³
from the thermos you brought from home
you don't like the chlorine or how crowded it is
so i, sunshine tart on my sunscreen-slick skin, take a running jump, squealing, sliding,
straight into pool's deep end
1. a river in nepal, which runs through the kathmandu valley
2. soldiers, native to nepal, with a reputation for fearless military prowess (also known as
“gurkha” or “gorkha”)
3. nepali, tea
Kristie Ng is learning to be a writer. She once told Simon Armitage a joke which he laughed at, politely. Her poems have been published on Quarterly Literary Review Singapore and The Kindling.
Conversations with the Man in the Box
I tell him, “This is where you live now,”
And for three days only, this holds true
And for three days I play with semantics so
I get to reverse this troublesome reality bookended between Friday and Monday,
And for three days I allow myself this trickery of language
Because real life is suddenly so, so boring.
I tell him again, “This is where you live now,”
And the man in the box, he doesn’t respond, doesn’t acknowledge me but I
play along anyway.
I tell him, “That’s a nice corner to hang your Hockney painting,”
And I ask, “How are we going to fit all your shoes and clothes in here?”
like we’re both characters in a self-aware play, and this is an incredulous punchline where the audience absolutely loses it!
And I imagine the man in the box telling me, “Well, darling, I wouldn’t need them since I’m dead!” and we laugh and the audience laughs and the critics, they laugh, and the lights dim and the show ends.
And again, I tell him, “This is where you live now,”
After the well-wishers and the weepers and the non-believers flee like it’s contagious,
Their Kleenex carnations transforming the empty tables into graves.
Because no one likes to carry grief home in their pockets,
And all I’m left with, is a man in a box and
the impossibility of words.
I tap the handsome walnut furnishing and tell him,
“This is where you live now,”
and somehow it is enough.
Kew Gardens, Spring
we are sitting in this godawful weather
under the arm of a magnolia tree,
dusting raindrops from her sleeve—
the rest of London insignificant.
in three hours, we sprint home in the rain, blood soaking through our coats,
in 2 and a half, the paramedics will have arrived, and we’d be speaking to the cops.
in an hour, Joe from Ealing will tell us that his speech is funny, the skin on his fingers like drenched petals crumpled and soft and we try not to look at where the side of his head meets the curb, the blood blooming and bright.
in half an hour, we see a man and a car drawn towards each other, slicing a straight line
through the street,
and the seconds before that, we wait for the bus taking us home
with your arm crooked in mine.
i look down and you present me with a sakura, like an open palm waiting.
you found it on the bench where we sat,
i did not see.