*Special to asia!


Never lose your passport, said my father  

At the gates. This book contains your name, and

Date of birth. It’s proof that you exist. I

Know, I said, I smiled and walked away. No  

Angle round which I could spy the bend of 

His last countenance. Enough,

this country is not enough. Give me the

ocular proof, I thought. The vernacular

distraction of attraction. Give me the

boys in their too-loose jeans and the 


girls in winter coats. Give me the

cottages and palaces and castles 


with the haunted moats. Give me the

more that I deserve, so I can have

the photographs to show my friends.


I would like to see the red leaves turn.  

These days I travel in and out of here.

When I return, I show my father the

Book. See, Pa, I’ve been so many places.

Stamp here, stamp there, I’ve made the mark at last.

See here. I jab a finger at a page.

He looks at me, replies: I'm glad you're here.


Never lose your passport, says my father

at the gates.


Gayle is a Singaporean studying in the US.