We combed and combed the shore,
the waning light against us. Watermelon moon
in the cotton candy sky. It seemed then
that this life was a collection of losses,
a slipping down an ever steeper slope,
shedding possessions and loved ones until,
at the last, we shed our own mottled coat of flesh,
this ragged lumpy lived-in self.
—  Evelyn Lau, “Lost and Found”

English Bay

Again we found our­selves at the shore­line,
among shards of shell and plas­tic,
scrim of sea­weed trap­ping my feet like a net.
Red freighters and the grey Onley mist of the islands.
The seashell gleam of sun on water, her­ring­bone sky.
I was think­ing of a movie where a man was drown­ing
in the mid­dle of the ocean, huge swells soar­ing
all around him like dunes in a desert, and how I’d once said,
That’s what it feels like, grief—
years ago, before any­one had even died.
Who knew how wide the ocean would get,
how high those waves would climb.
Then I went into the water, into that marine world
of kelp and plank­ton. The green that bathed my legs
had trav­elled for miles to reach this bay.
A noose of cloud hung on the gold hori­zon.
Spores, sand in the gritty air. No one I loved was there.

Evelyn Lau

Where did feelings go when they disappeared? Did they leave a chemical trace somewhere in our minds, so that if we could look inside ourselves we would see via the patterns of neurons some of the important things that had happened to us in our lifetimes?
—  Evelyn Lau, Inside Out: Reflections on a life so far          

On our last walk along the seawall,

you stopped mid-sentence

to watch a heron pass us in flight.

Isn’t she beautiful, you whispered –

the stone span of her wings, textured like granite –

and I looked, and looked again,

and saw, like those hours in your lamplit office,

the gold light falling all around us.

—  An Excerpt From The Wake by Evelyn Lau
Over the trees, their fall leaves
a flock of orange parrots perched on branches.
Over the chandelier of sunlight broken
on blue waves, over flowers
shaped like teacups or trumpets,
over the jade garden where once I dreamed
—  Evelyn Lau, The Mall
The sun stunned your face on the pillow, painted it gold like jewelery on a velvet case in a store window downtown. It seemed to set your hair on fire, and from the bathroom doorway your body swathed in sheets looked as if a tongue of flame was searing your from head to foot in the sudden day.
—  Evelyn Lau, Other Women.