“If I’m Not Here”
This poem was originally published on The Pittsburgher’s predecessor, The Dog Door Cultural.
The air had stilled the way it did
When the television was on,
And the air twinkled in that way
That good things in plastic wrap would.
To peel back that plaster and reveal a
I try to explain:
Fish tank, I say
With my hands,
Drawing out windows and windows
And I don’t like to drive anymore
I am in constant state of seeing things through
My grandma is making soup in the disinfected kitchen,
And limbo is a childhood of still water
I keep trying to explain:
Have you slept?
The last time I tried to be my mother,
I couldn’t assume her motionless waver.
Though I became my father without effort –
I’ve started to write for others
And hear myself become a mouse.
What ever happened to moving to the big city
And becoming big –
There’s stacks of newspapers outside my door
Slouched on the welcome mat like a visitor
That doesn’t know when to leave.
I wish they’d just wash away with the rain
By the back door, the black cat
Paws at peeling paint
In another time, I try
Once more: ▲
Kaiwern Koo is an undergraduate at The University of Melbourne majoring in English & Theatre Studies and Creative Writing. Her work focuses on isolation, the dismantling of identity, and uncertainty.