Issue Two,

Autumn 2020

STREET LIFE

Celine Low

Poetry

Mr Sunflower

roams the train station

with a stuffed yellow sunflower

in his hand. He is a mascot for happiness.

This is his name, a beaming sunflower too fat

to be real, with a stitched black smile

on its fuzzily radiant face, standing straight

up with its singular mission:

to bring light

to the world.

 

On a train

 

he spots a curious couple

like bread he can spread

his smile on. His joy flares

like a blister; he waves

the sunflower in his hand,

he wants to bless

 

but the contrast

of their laced fingers

like piano keys

surprises him.

 

He doesn’t notice,

but a note

of discord

twangs

in his body

overlaid by the melody of the smile.

 

He smiles up to them, down at them,

oozing good will. Quickly they are drawn

into his dazzling sketch

of the world.

 

So pretty, he says, staring

at their hands, their mismatched

skins, their matching

rings. And so handsome—

 

young man, you scored

yourself a fine fair

lady. You’re lucky

you’re not dark

like other

Indians.

 

Mr Sunflower believes in happiness,

in a smile etched by a diamond.

He draws his world black and white,

a house built on granite,

with lines so straight

they never collide.

 

The sunflower flops

about as he beams,

flat face gleaming

against the dark

ground.

Imprinted

Matter cannot move without disturbance

   of matter.

 

Which is free, rock or river? Rock sets

   out the water’s path, and torrents carve

creases and vessels through mountains

   broad-shouldered and beaten. In a cave

slow muffled drops wear away

   old stone, its aggressions

paltry and peripheral

 

and relentless, like elbows in the city.

   Passengers on the train sustain

hard, round, blue-black bumps

   stamped like pennies on the ribs,

 

like grease on glass windows, shoulders

   and fingers sliding on translucent skins, leaving

on each other imprints in the sand.

Celine Low is a writer, painter, dancer and secret bathroom-singer based in Singapore (but currently in India), with an MA in English Literature she doesn’t know what to do with. Her fiction and poetry are either published or forthcoming in Tempered Runes Press, Muddy River Poetry Review, Fifty Word Stories, BALLOONS Literary Journal, and 9Tales from Elsewhere, among others. 

QUINCE magazine