Winifred Wong

 

Winifred Wong is a Singaporean writer of both poetry and prose. She attended a masterclass I gave at Sing Lit Station in September 2018. In the masterclass, I invited participants to create Canto’s (a chant poem, separated into distinct scenes, almost cinematic) around one part of their life experience they wished to explore, and to develop a central extended metaphor through which that narrative could best be told.

In this poem, Wong uses the metaphor of a game of Monopoly to explore her relationship with her mother, and the changing power dynamics within that relationship. She also separates the scenes by counting up, and then counting down – an effective device to explain that changing dynamic.

monopoly

1.

 

funny that i’m starting in jail.

but i wait my turn

there’s no zero on the die.

side by side

with top hat.

 

the phone rings –

her voice

asking if I have eaten

or done my homework

 

sometimes, i call

but children are allowed to be lonely.

 

 

i get a six

and cheer.

there’s not enough space

in a box

for two.

 

 

“top hat snails

while race car zooms ahead!”

she tips forward

watching my progress

my car horn does not reach her anymore.

 

i meet other pieces

coming out from the bank

we share the same numbers

for a while.

 

 

passing trees

stock still

my phone is silent.

 

she’s not in my rearview.

 

i pull over to let others pass.

exit car, hands on hips, stretch

it is strenuous to do nothing.

 

i text her to meet me in the next town.

 

 

a call.

she has landed on a bad spot

handing all her notes away

downgrades to purse

and doesn’t roll anymore.

 

 

she hears my horn behind her.