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The sea-maiden's memory


Sher Ting

we met at the ridge of a broken shore,
the day aching with the weight
of two swollen hearts

the fire-kissed sky
embraced the ocean that slipped through
my fingers

I closed my eyes
and tasted salted air
like embers of a wildfire;

You were there
at the edge of salt and foam,
smile catching on the last ray
of auburn light spilling over the horizon,
kissed by water and cloud,

and you whittled the night into a promise
of land, sea and a point in between,
untouched by light and time,

In the shallow of a moonless tide,
you rewrote constellations to halo
the lives we dreamed

as the night dissolved like a scar,
and the sun took to the night
like a blade through buttered sky,

you left for the land you chose,
a turned back carved
into the whisper of dawn,
and you lay our dreams to
rest in the museum of your memory

I held the years in my palm,
hoping I could turn grief
into spring

I turned the sea into a cadence,
to canvas corners I could
never tread

and I thought I saw you
the other day,
as the last filaments of my memory
unraveled in ash and grey,

a lone man standing at the shore,


for a shadow

of what could’ve been

Sher Ting has lived in Singapore for most of her life before spending the next five years in medical school in Australia. Her writing blog can be found at

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