Tiffany Tsao

Tiffany Tsao grew up in Sin­ga­pore and Indone­sia, has spent time in the UK and US, and now resides in Syd­ney, Aus­tralia. She earned her PhD from UC-Berkeley in May 2009 and is a cur­rently a lec­turer in Eng­lish at the Uni­ver­sity of New­cas­tle, Aus­tralia. In addi­tion to writ­ing fic­tion and poetry, she pub­lishes on Eng­lish and Indone­sian lit­er­a­ture. She keeps a blog at



The Sprig

The man in the photo is a green shoot of a man
a slim-waisted sprig
a pocket-watch spring
with ears like the wings of a jumbo jet.
He’ll take off and you bet­ter catch on. 

The shades of white and grey can’t hide
his tech­ni­colour visions.
Through the creased paper pro­trudes
a jaunty ambi­tion swelling by the second. 

I think his rak­ish mous­tache just sprouted another hair.

I know how he’ll unfurl.
He will build empires.
He will pop­u­late the earth.
He will feed mul­ti­tudes.
He will shower the land with dol­lar bills.
Then: a mod­est mon­u­ment, a hum­ble knight­hood,
a self-commissioned por­trait hang­ing in the hallway. 

But let’s keep this a secret
or he’ll never get over himself.