Those Layered Cakes

Poem By john tiong chunghoo

yesterday i passed by
my childhood stall by the road;
what an experience it was!
that woman in her 30s i used to see,
now only her creased forehead and face
to add another dimension between us.
how sweet her layered little squarish
suntan cakes still tasted;
those layers that i peeled off
piece by piece to savour their charms.
and as i peeled the women gave me
that more mature and
deeply heartstirring smile
that tore through the distance
between us as if each layer i had peeled carried a story of her own life.
those years of experiences
now seen in phases,
like the layers of her cake.
the child in me leapt up again.
i left behind what
have separated us
to present the innocent smile
we used to give each other.
momentarily we lived
those days when i was a child
and she a young woman.
those childhood years
when we saw people as what they were.
those childhood years
when our smiles, love
were a fountain spring of ourselves
until the days when growing up
added different shades
of feelings and thoughts
to our relationships.
i hate the layer
those creases and wrinkles
laid in me.
i prefer to see them
as a child
where she would probably be
the wise woman in some cartoon film.
how those cakes would never
be the same again.
how i loved those pink and white layers,
the pink and white that had always
carried a fairy tale behind them.

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