ONE POEM – Kwan Ann Tan

Lovers 1962 by Nancy Spero 1926-2009

Image: Nancy Spero – Lovers (1962) © Estate of Nancy Spero. DACS, London/VAGA, New York 2018

Kwan Ann Tan is a 19 year old Malaysian currently studying at Oxford University. Her work has been featured in places such as Hypertrophic Literary and Half Mystic, and she also serves as the Roots Fiction Editor at Rambutan Literary. You can find her at or on Twitter at @KwanAnnTan. 

creation song

In the beginning, there was light & then
we are kissing. Taste of honey & wine mixing
like lightning & the vast ocean cresting upwards
to meet its careless strike. The waters settle. We
are staring at the 4 a.m ceiling as you strum
the opening chord for an unfinished symphony.
I tell you about Tchaikovsky at midnight,
wading into the freezing Moscow river
neck-deep in a requiem of weariness— you
sigh, and I ache from the longing of it. At
this angle we are a collection of strangely lit
photos: my ribcage unfurling like a bolt of silk
into your open palm, your secrets falling into
my hair like bruised petals. & maybe here we
find something like love, through the way
you kiss my paper-cut fingertips, in how my
hands tangle in your sheets. & maybe the only
way to say ‘i love you’ is this: mouth pressed
into a secret hollow of the earth. whispered
over & over like a nursery rhyme,
breathless after a broken heart.

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