I Once Called a Man Fat
by Tammy Ho Lai-ming

On purpose, I say the meanest things.
Not to strangers
Or people who step on my nerves.
Admit it: we save the worst
For those who love us;
We know their forgiveness
Is infinite.

I once called a man fat;
And told him not to walk beside me.
Late December, his trail of footprints
On the Scandinavian snow
Formed a sequence of
Displaced Morse code.

He tripped, and I only knew
When a passer-by stabbed me
A reproachful eye.
And there he was,
Stumbling to get up,
Like a light sleeper
Waking from an exciting dream.


Tammy Ho Lai-ming, also known as Sighming, is a Hong Kong-
born writer.  She is the editor of
HKU Writing: An Anthology
(March 2006), a co-editor of Word Salad Poetry Magazine, and
a co-founder of the first Hong Kong-based online literary journal,
Cha: An Asian Literary Journal (www.asiancha.com).  Her
website is located at

On “I Once Called a Man Fat”:
We take our loved ones for granted, simply because they are
always there and seem to have lots of tolerance of our lapses.  
Dickens said in
Great Expectations:  “So, throughout life, our
worst weaknesses and meannesses are usually committed for the
sake of the people whom we most despise.”  There is certain
truth in this statement.  And I want to express in my poem that
sometimes our “meannesses” are inflicted on those who care
for us. When that happens, it is really sad.

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 3, Number 1
(Spring 2008)

Copyright © 2008
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.