6 Things I Have Learned About Disasters by Vanessa Koh

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6 Things I Have Learned About Disasters

1. there is nothing natural here.
i could twist my words
into the fractured roads after an earthquake,
or paint my desperation
with the death toll of the 1931 china floods.
but every crimson thread of defeat
is furiously woven together
over and over and over again
until all i am left with
are blistered fingers and a tapestry
of all the times i forgot how to pronounce my name.

2. catastrophe is a ghost –
my mind is its favourite haunt.
it will not leave even after closing hours,
and sits at the bar counter
drunk on irrationality
slurring on about
burying broken compasses and
wringing wrists of their pulses

3. i am the bartender,
precariously balancing
its drinks in one hand
and waking up in the other.

4. every fantasy of fading
into salt and apologies
is an avalanche tearing through
paper planes and origami faces,
a wordless prayer to a non-existent god
in a burning sky,
begging for a reprieve from

5. the aftermath.
the aftermath that feels like
being dragged out of the mortician’s hands,
exhuming corpses of the people
i could have been,
waiting at the wrong end of the tunnel.

6. i wish i could soothe this into a more palatable story,
a soft whisper with a full stop.
but there are still houses with roofs torn off
in my throat where my voice used to be,
too many emergency shelters,
too many crevices for shadows to creep in,
too much disaster in my blood,
and god damn it
i’m bleeding everywhere.

Vanessa Koh

Vanessa Koh is a university student from Singapore, studying Linguistics and Psychology. She’s an aspiring poet who frequently gets excited over the sky and other small things. She has self-published two chapbooks, Are We Here? and Is This Now? She hopes you are well and loved. : 1rann.tumblr.com