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.