In salty smoke, and bitter choke
Dark treacle made of bile clogs up my throat
A flush of blistering heat spreads,
Throbbing aches and pains
Fill the veins in my head

媽咪 says I must drink the stuff
The only one who can stand the heady vapours
Of Sarson's Malt Vinegar lingering in the kitchen
My potatoes are extra sharp tonight
I always put too much on, nowadays
For the cuts on my tongue, there is no respite

Many years ago, in an apartment that wasn't mine
I huffed and I puffed, made a grown woman cry
Now, I wrap my temper in a web of sticky lies

醋. Bitter acidity.
Need to sort things out quickly,
Clean my dirty laundry
And bleach my sincerity

My inner rage is seething.
Jaded and disillusioned,
Down here, I find my faith lies bleeding.


媽咪 (mā mìh) – partial phono-semantic matching of English 'mummy'

醋 (chou) – vinegar; bitterness, envy, jealousy (figuratively)

飲醋 (yám chou) – literally, 'to drink vinegar' which has also been figurative for being jealous or bitter but apparently the phrase 呷醋 (haap chou) is usually used, according to Wiktionary. I've heard my mother use '飲醋' joking about my affinity for vinegar when we were out 飲茶 a few years ago so I'm using it as my title here.

The Traditional Chinese is meant to be read in Cantonese and the romanisations in brackets just above are in Cantonese Yale. I will admit my Chinese isn't that great, but I tried my best.