PoetryIssue 03 | February 2009

Free Association

by Tammy Ho Lai Ming

A cat.

It pisses in front of its mistress’s house,
A retort, no doubt, for kicking it out,
Into this night of dim pavements.
It remembers the warmth of its own doormat,
The moon shining outside the window.

She could have kept the cat,
She could have killed it, put its paws in a soup.
Heart-broken, how could she keep this living token?
She steals a quick look through the blinds;
It is there, it is still there.
It has not gone to the garden.

He submits himself to circling the house.
Just another half hour, he thinks,
Except that he thought the same half hour ago.
But before her anger subsides,
He’s consoled that his cat’s also exiled.

A man.

About the author

Tammy Ho Lai-ming is a Hong Kong-born writer currently based in London. She is the editor of Hong Kong U Writing: An Anthology (2006) and co-editor of Love & Lust (2008). She is also an assistant poetry editor of Sotto Voce Magazine and a founding co-editor of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal . More about Tammy Ho Lai-Ming here.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok