Euginia Tan

Contributor Biography

Euginia Tan is a Singaporean writer who writes poetry, creative non-fiction and plays. She enjoys cross-pollinating art into multidisciplinary platforms and reviving stories. Contact her at eugtan@hotmail.com.

patio

the patio had
four white chairs
encircling a white table
the chairs were flimsy
a wind would rouse
a chair would be flung
the sound of a house 
in shambles

we each had our moments on that patio
my father with a beer can
sometimes a guitar
like a werewolf, the half formed howl
of heartbreak in his hey days
my mother with her work
her guests, her need to entertain
to be her best

me, with my colouring pencils
and note paper, the bully of a wind
unsettling my childhood scrawls
the tumble of a chair heavy as 
my mother’s body hitting the floor
my father’s punch 
ripe as a fruit
fallen from a tree

po po’s inbox

when po po was alive
she would ask me to “wash her phone”
meaning, to delete messages in her inbox.
she never read them, she said 
if they were really important, 
someone would call.
washing her phone, i found
laundry messages of adverts,
friends of hers who might have 
also just purchased a phone,
relatives who wanted to share
philosophy, shrunken to a text.
i kept that phone when she died
and everyone knew it was important
that she was calling, going silent when
they heard my voice on the other line,
allowing for grief to dry naturally 
as wet clothes do, no matter the forecast

Noel Sloboda

Contributor Biography

Noel Sloboda is the author of two poetry collections and six chapbooks. He has also published a book about Edith Wharton and Gertrude Stein. Sloboda teaches at Penn State York.

Morning in Freiburg

It can’t be love this early 
that imbues shop girls
with such lambent grace.

Behind glass swirling with Fraktur
they pay me no mind as I lurch
across medieval cobbles, 

my left heel troubled by a pebble 
unknowingly smuggled
across international borders.

One fräulein frets over strudel 
turning them this way and that
till frosted glaze glistens 

like starlight on the sea. 
Another inspects chocolate tortes
searching for blemishes

in sleek, obsidian skins.  
A third delicately spreads fritters
as if they were bones of a saint

with power to tell the future. 
Each tender muse acts 
with such care, as if prepping the feast 

for her wedding day—
cheeks dappled with fire
better suited for nighttime

rites of devotion. Smitten
by passion for the perishable
I grow hungry for the day ahead

 

and as I bend to empty my shoe
fatigue rolls from my shoulders
disappearing into the Bächle

along with yesterday’s rain. 
 


The Mummy in Art Therapy 

I yearn to make sense 
of what was and will be 

life in acrylic, after being rudely
awakened from eons of slumber 

only to find everyone 
I grew up with entombed

in the bottom of an hourglass. 
But apples in my natures mortes

look flat as parchment
and the subtlety of fingers 

proves impossible to capture
even when my model stays

still as a sphinx. Still, 
something inside me stirs

when I make a self-portrait
and before I know it 

I have fashioned a new tribe:
a series of selves on canvas.

At first I think it is the illusion 
of order imposed by lines 

of bandages holding me together.
Later, though, I find myself

falling in love with protean likenesses—
fresh daubs of color spattered 

over an off-white backdrop  
making each new version of me 

the oldest rainbow in the world.


Song of the Fallen Hive

Listen: we are still alive
even if all our labors have been 
undone. Nor will this be
the last exquisite wreckage.  

Limbs will snap in tempests.
Skunks seeking sweetness 
will tear cells asunder.
Palaces grander than the one lost 

will be converted to tombs. 
But every story of eclipse ends 
with light; nectar yet remains 
to be sucked from flowers. 

So follow your queen now:
take up wings strewn about 
like flower petals in November. 
Lash them to banded backs— 

black as a moonless night
and golden as a sunbeam—
and climb higher than ever before. 
Strive to reach a tomorrow 

when we might together contrive 
to fashion another home, 
fill new chambers with drones
of the world’s first gardeners 

and celebrate those who survive. 

Author's Note:

"Morning in Freiburg" previously appeared in Silk Road.

"The Mummy in Art Therapy" previously appeared in Pilgrimage.

"Song of the Fallen Hive" previously appeared in Pudding.