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A Post-Apocalyptic Diary

By Willow Kang Liew Bei

i. The First Month

Fires, cataclysmic raiders brought on by the shelling

have grounded this terra into draconic bone

not even the primordial oak trees survive,

remnants of their bark scattered around what

were once parks. The red spider lilies lay ashen

in graves charred with similarly ambitious cherubims,

& the skeletons of the artists still clutch rifles

which we pry from them in death,

will the emptiness relieve them or

had the weight been a passing mourner?

So, like the rightful monarchs before us, those

pickaxe-wielding kings & queens in woven hats

we mine for stardust from the powdered ruins

of this cursed city

then, with tender breaths, sweep the dust into animal biscuits.

Wait for life to scuttle again

ii. The Second Month

We freed the bunnies today

from that unknowable tabula rasa of the cargo bay.

Outside was a more unforgiving prairie

where imperial carpets are red, dyed with blood,

rubies cruelly pillaged from stardust.

& as the bunnies journey they will find

other smoldering lives, but in this country

a civilization of creatures in eternal naivete,

stampeding bunnies will finally overrun the killing fields

iii. The Third Month

After, we delivered the corpses home,

saw to the spirit’s ascension on haloed aviaries,

let us hop up onto the roof and watch

with bated breath the shimmering cast of candles

dance through the black grime of this oil-coated earth.

Let us feel, together, living flesh undulating again,

that melts the unyielding isolation

of this city built from past desolations, past mistakes

iv. The Fourth Month

Two lovers waltz in the kitchen,

swirls of chocolate following their footsteps

twisting and turning like a spasming clock

& upon them I pray

for the door gods' blessings

to keep away the snow-coated coyotes,

those imps of the Moon's mischief

v. The Fifth Month

I can make a promise to you

about the wastelands: soon we can build

our cabins there, trees too,

imperial ones, cedars & jacarandas &

everything else the garden gnomes

would call for, teapots & pools.

Are you still worrying about the grazing creatures

with their serrated mouths?

But who wouldn't want the Easter bunnies back?

You forget, how they huddled in their flocks

when the planets came crashing down on us,

their cries, a siren that cut through

our jagged slumbers, woke us up to the inferno,

so let them in too & maybe we can learn

together, to be two ludic mountain shepherds

vi. The Sixth Month

We bade farewell to the crumbling grounds, instead

step, jump lighter than the bumbling missiles did,

into the radiance of the clouds,

still balmy from leftover solar flares, & there

we will create a new sanctuary for trustful bunnies

beneath us, hellhounds roam but here

in this genesis, why not try

to understand first, how gentle giants become.

After all, we, as morsels of stardust

were not born bellicose

vii. The Seventh Month

For the terrapin is an overeating nebulae,

teeth like celestial cutters.

It would love the starfish, the glitter

spilled on the floorboards by the sun,

a toddler, hands flailing like the clock

does when it looks down to see itself straddling

this colorful winded horse called life

viii. The Eighth Month

The children hold their picnics &

high teas on the lawn, flying kites

without worrying about airplane crashes.

By dusky hues we sit on swings,

do nothing at all, except feel for the

cautious hops of bunnies on the spring soil,

the yoga sequences of the clouds.

It is only at night that the terrors manifest

& this second can be as long

as we want it to be, like how the children

never fear at all, for sundown & going home

ix. The Ninth Month

The universe spins on the axes of

a single stalk of wildflower,

we spend mornings in the national parks,

laughing like the shrill wind

without rations & cabins,

mouths earthen, drooling dew

x. The Tenth Month

The acid rains have come and gone

now it is us, huddled by the fire

singing songs of our ancestors

with silver tongues

there is a future to worry about

but let us breathe more

of this terra's perfumed air,

with its floating nectar, & now, dew rains

because our silver tongues too can weave

into the tapestry of our muddled fates

something coherent, a worldly raison d'être

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