Each day I sat at the kids’ table
Unravelled seven Rafflesias
of padded fabric rejects,
unexhibited, BiCentennial past.
Each disc of Solo batik find a new form
as a lion head.
Second life as life size
puppet, a child’s crown fit.
Licking my wound, thinking of Cina Kapitan Tan JinSeng,
Bupati in 1830 when Raffles invaded.
In August a murmur of Chinese Privilege silenced.
The Burmese and Vietnamese immigrant children took turns
To test out the monster head, whose coat of scallops
once stiff Rafflesia petals,
now ends in a fan tail.
Rekaan Merlion Singapura.
Later we made
another Barong Sai
out of donated clothing.
Each coloured petal now a joy ride on the Brother machine
with the kids, who have grown used to me as a fixture.
when I told them
this is no vocational skill to prepare you