The waiting game

begins with someone calling your name before you 
wait to have your blood taken in a windowless room. 
Wait for the stultifying thoughts of red and disease 
to pass. Wait for the phone call, for relief to wash 
over you. And while you are waiting I recommend you 
dance like the memory of sweat easing down his 
throat; roll open like the drum beat of your limbs 
in sync; tear through your wildest nights, still lit in 
hopeful neon; cry like the Christmas you lost your 
last grandparent; and sing like the forgotten violin 
slowly coming undone in your muscle memory. 
If you do not allow yourself to sleep in peace 
with your worries, you will find yourself awake 
at the bottom of a very deep, very secret lake. 

Where you will—drink to this

stink of youth & hard summers 
    is where I start to test the skin 

(stick-footed & unsteady, a mewling frolic) 
    appropriate measures ignored 

so that I may sit at your side 
    spy the full moon in your eye 

a porcelain tea cup laid 
    with rest in your steady palm 

a delicate first sip 
    then primal, exultant scull 

lower my brassy body 
    into your hold (tighter still) 

& let you scoop the fresh 
    sounds from my mouth 

soft under & soft over in your care 
    this undeniable mutual core 

a gallant, fighting chance 
    a clear timbre     of varied 

& several utterings 
    one full cup for the join 

one full cup for all our belated 
    tidings     such story, such proof 



Chris Tse’s poetry recently appeared in Best New Zealand Poems 2013GlitterwolfSweet Mammalian and Rejectamenta. His first collection, How to be Dead in a Year of Snakes, was published by Auckland University Press in 2014.