pageless covers.

severed pages were fed to an extinguishing fire.
they descended, then rose as ciders;
saving a diminishing present from the cold.
lean campers, glad to be left alone, did not last
to excavate the singed leather covers
from the burnt holes.

wordless spines.

if a missing tooth amidst a mouthful of teeth
may steal attention from a hurt grin,
so does a book with a wordless spine,
stand out, bookended by others,
a variant of descendants and ancestry,
of slimness and height.

coverless pages.

on loose pages, wounds are words punched deep.
people write of a succession of non-lovers,
of different floorboards on which they measure their steps,
of intact memories of certain simplified faces.
these tireless writers, filling single sheets,
do not dare to see their pages bound
between embossed paper covers.

spineless words.

if they march,
other words are canes, swords:
their walking sticks.

Tammy Ho Lai-ming is a Hong Kong-born writer currently based in London, UK. She is an assistant poetry editor of Sotto Voce Magazine and a founding co-editor of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal <>, the first and only Hong Kong-based online literary publication. More about Ho at

Copyright 2009