We will step outside and hold hands

with people we do not live with, leaning

against fitness corner monkey bars.

We will meet our friends again,

wrap our arms around them

and realise we have forgotten

how hugs are supposed to end.

We will remove our masks and kiss

in the middle of zebra crossings.

Drivers will honk their horns

not out of rage but joy.

We will sit in crowded cinemas

watching a movie picked at random

for the sheer pleasure of hearing strangers

crunching buttered popcorn all around us.

When all this is over, maybe we will

say good morning to our neighbours,

ask if they slept well. First, out of fear,

then because we genuinely like them.

When all this is over, we will remove

our masks, taste the air for the first

time in months, and see ourselves,

and see this city for what we really are.

When all this is over, may we never

walk past another new building

without wondering about how

the people who put it together

are doing.

May we finally stop mistaking

compassion for compromise

inequality for inevitable

but never stop questioning.

When all this is over,

I hope we remember

the ways that we cared,

everything we redistributed,

everything that we wouldn’t

settle for, what we demanded,

everything that we shared,

and realise that all this

was just a beginning.

When all this is over,

we will step outside and hold hands

with people we do not live with.

  • Stephanie Chan, 32, is the author of poetry collection Roadkill For Beginners (2019) and has spent the circuit breaker growing vegetables while running poetry night Spoke & Bird and a livestreamed talk show, The Siao Char Bors Chat Show online.
  • To read the other works in this series online, go to str.sg/30Days. For more local digital arts offerings, go to a-list.sg to appreciate #SGCulture Anywhere

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