Aneska Tan

because their tongues
             were hanging lopsided 
like an invitation. and 
             even God’s work tries to hide 
its roots below the ground.
             because I was only sheepish, 
cowering near their circle, 
             watching the seagirls, yearning 
to puncture a mirror, watching 
             the waves stroke themselves, 
waiting for the tide, 
             for it to throw up an alphabet. 
because it is easier 
             to brush off than to scrape. home 
is a reluctant blessing, and 
             my back will turn on it, turning 
on the taste, spit at it— 
             like a home for phlegm, all while 
grinding my teeth 
             against pale molasses. I listen to 
the sound of railways birthed 
             from their throats, meekly 
roll skin fissures into slurs 
             in mock revenge. because 
my camouflage comes loose 
             with kinship absorbing the façade. 
I chew an airport to a pulp, 
             falling mute when asked which one. 
because I have often 
             pulled a hearty laugh from 
my lung, like we’re back 
             at the train tracks, the coolie-station 
or beside the fish-butcher, 
             as he pushes a knife into bones… 
they watch it like theatre: 
             as I struggle against conscience 
to hide the face of a bridge.

Aneska Tan is a student from Singapore who likes to write when she is not fighting her way through academia. Her work is upcoming in Rust + Moth and Riggwelter Press among other journals. She hopes to own a writing hut someday (much like Mark Twain’s!) and in the after hours you’ll usually find her wallowing in her inability to leave the house.

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