Sandra Lim

Spring comes forward as a late-winter confection, and I cannot decide if it advances a philosophy of meekness or daring.

This year’s snowdrops: is it that they are spare, and have a slightly fraught lucidity, or are they proof that pain, too, can be ornate?

Even a propped skull is human nature. And its humor is monstrous, rich with an existence that owes nothing to anyone.

Fat little pearls against the ice, battering softly, try even fewer qualities—

To say that you love someone or something to death is to hover around the draw of irrevocability.

More faith is asked of us, a trained imagination against the ice-white.


Photo by Aditya Vyas on Unsplash

human interest story


Human Interest Story
Sandra Lim

Snow would have been breaking the drifts that day, on a mild

My father was boarding at the home of a missionary couple in
Seoul, getting by on books and the radio and cheap noodles.

His older brother hanged himself that winter in Pusan. They
would say afterward that it was a plain death, funded by bad
numbers, some selfishness, unusual cold.

Think of a needle dropped into the sea.

He had a pleasantly objective feeling about himself that morning,
as the early sky gently ripped into red. He thought about Business
English, the truth of money.

Across town, a diary opened. And there were the white, cooling
coals in barrels.

There was a pretty young wife and one serious boy and one very
quiet girl. They awakened one day to a new planet, where the
spaces between people appeared slightly widened.

Maybe you can’t penetrate events with reportage, but facts have a
sly, unanswerable texture that appears social.

To relieve ourselves of open-ended narrative, we read into the
winter stars all evening. There are just stars and stars and stars.

We know what it’s like to fall in love and be disassembled, but we
still want to pull death right off the bodies of one another.

These were spectacular nights, said my father. They were full of
philosophy and political theory, noisy reversals, French movies.

The romantic grace we comprehend sits with ease in the real
world; it is almost nothing.

Now he is carrion, stitched forever in the cramp of a trial.

No one can evict us from books! he used to say, running through
astonishment at full speed.

Photo by Adrien Olichon on Unsplash



Sandra Lim

Spring obliges
my imagination
of return
it annihilates it
What is death
but reason
in flawless submission
to itself
not reason
something stonier

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash


Amor Fati


Amor Fati
Sandra Lim

Inside every world there is another world trying to get out,
and there is something in you that would like to discount this world.
The stars could rise in darkness over heartbreaking coasts,
and you would not know if you were ruining your life or beginning a real one.
You could claim professional fondness for the world around you;
the pictures would dissolve under the paint coming alive,
and you would only feel a phantom skip of the heart, absorbed so in the colors.
Your disbelief is a later novel emerging in the long, long shadow of an earlier one—
is this the great world, which is whatever is the case?
The sustained helplessness you feel in the long emptiness of days is matched
by the new suspiciousness and wrath you wake to each morning.
Isn’t this a relationship with your death, too, to fall in love with your inscrutable life?
Your teeth fill with cavities. There is always unearned happiness for some,
and the criminal feeling of solitude. Always, everyone lies about his life.

Photo by Bastien Nvs on Unsplash