In a jar of sugar and sunlight (i)

In a jar of sugar and sunlight is a series of meditations on Asian womanhood, menstruation, coming of age, and sexuality.


In a jar of sugar and sunlight

Mother thought it funny that the
First brown stains appeared the day we moved
Out of the crumbling rented house where
Ghosts spoke to me at night and
Lucky was ran over and splattered on
The road right in front
I was horrified because someone had told me that
Fruit that ripened too early will rot too soon

Mother brought me a pad and
Instructed me how to wash and
Scrub the brown stains away angrily
We did not use bleach because bleach
Was too harsh and will eat through the delicate fabric

—————————————————-I like to go back to this moment when
————————Men trail kisses down and arrive at my panties and I let
—————————————————————Their saliva dissolve my guard

——————————————–The fruit did ripen and I chose to ferment it
——————————————————————-In a jar of sugar and sunlight
——————————————————And now I am in abundance of nectar
—————————————I have since discovered hydrogen peroxide and
————————————————————————-Named a fish after Lucky
—————–The crumbling rented house has been thoroughly demolished
——————-A beautiful bungalow heavy with children stands in its place

But the brown stains are still faintly visible
On the white panties dripping dry
On a clothesline somewhere
In my many brains and many lifetimes

Every time I recreate them



When all their chests were flat as tables
Ours were budding roses beneath
Cotton bralettes and obese schoolbags

Our girlhood often reduced to
Dusty school uniforms and
Regulated haircuts
That reeked of obedience we carried through adulthood

You and I like Saturn’s two moons on the
Same orbit maintaining distance but keeping
Watch. The odder one out will be
Teased by those boys for our protruding

Until that afternoon when the bobby pin on
Your fringe came close to my face and the
Little plastic package fell out of your dusty purple schoolbag
I squealed in delight knowing I am not alone
In my ripening. And you asked if I too, have
Begun my journey to becoming
Becoming, becoming



Dear lover if you see too many words choking my windpipe
Please take me to see tulips and remind me of
Courtney’s bobby pin I know I am still a
Construction site because she tore
Most of me down so I would
Become no man’s land
Because the safest
Protection is



Artwork by Chong Siew Ying, “Run Baby Run”