Death of a Refrigerator | 冰箱之死

By and | 31 October 2020

We assume the cold lasts forever.
Unaware of its untimely demise, we opened
its door to a dying ribbon of light. The cooler
had stopped working—like how the charm
hidden in an old film can’t help but prove
its stars dead, its soundtrack now stale.
The beer, refusing to cool, hinted at this
inevitability—or perhaps, at a lingering
uneasiness I could not ignore.

You reminded me to separate the food.
The meat, quick to spoil, was to be cooked first,
masking its death in a slaughter of oil.
Whatever remained, we left to be swallowed
by the heat, or hidden in the stomach of strangers,
if only to escape the wandering of flies. I wondered
if the eggs were alright. Only when they cracked
would we know if they were rotten, or fresh
like memories of breakfast. Or perhaps, we
could give them another chance? Let the
warmth’s embrace try and hatch them.

Your silence mirrored my cascading questions.
The answer came in the form of fried rice.
We ignored the vegetables for now, though
even the maggots could foresee their fate.

I open the fridge, expecting the melted ice
to have dried, only to find the spilt seasoning
grieving over their past. How I, too, who kept
opening this door again and again out of habit,
mourned in my many-flavoured grief—how death
somehow let me scent the proof of having lived.
How it let me taste this simple joy we neglected.

The inevitability of life quickly arranged
with the store for the new fridge’s arrival.
When the porters carried the old one away,
I saw an exchange of souls. How, spurred by
the guarantee, a fridge emptied and sealed
away is soon replaced by one new and
unopened, ready to contain anything.

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