Back to Issue Forty-Six


The Mills



What ends as yarn begins as drawn threads of silver wound onto bobbins by the chapped fingers of mothers. I know this because the exhibition says so. No more scores of machines clattering no cotton spun no cellulose lit gold under the lamp’s UV glow. One floor below I buy a cup of black sugar boba the price of minimum wage. In ten minutes I finish what took an hour to earn tapioca pearls included. It is Sunday and everything is middle-class even the weather. Yesterday I called my lover abroad. He told me he loved me and that he wanted to introduce me to his parents who do not know of my existence. I did not think much of it at the time but now sitting on a gunmetal bench in the atrium swarmed with families I wonder if I should acquiesce to his request. Above phantom machines continue to weave their invisible threads. History ticks by in eight-hour shifts. Soon I will leave this city tethered by feelings I wish to understand. If one day you find me gentrified and placid please remind me of what we have lost.

Eric Yip was born and raised in Hong Kong. He won the 2021 National Poetry Competition in the UK and was shortlisted for the 2023 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. His poems have been published in The Poetry Review and Best New Poets. He is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Cambridge.

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