The Boiler

Jasmine Nikki Paredes

I will lose him during the apocalypse

when the ground gives, right after
our neighbor’s dog tells me
to wake up and clear my browser cache.
Yesterday they found a megamouth shark
washed ashore, dead. Maybe now
we should get out of bed and worry
about the high rises, how the quake
will devour us, will devour everything
that loves us back.

When the apocalypse happens,
I’m afraid we will be on different trains
going opposite ways. As the car tumbles
down the platform, pressing steel
to flesh to bone, I will remember
how the night before, I fell
asleep as he sat in the other room,
listening to the hum of his laptop.
I go to bed every night with a dread,
and he says it is all in my head,
and another day—

During the apocalypse a fault line
shall halve our avenue.
The underwater cables will have nothing
else to broadcast but silence, the kind
that follows the discovery
of a thing long feared.


FEAST

When we lived an hour
from each other, I waited
by an elevated platform

until the train ground
up the tracks like a knife
being sharpened.

Now we have become
woman and man
with the shopping bags,

lamenting the jetlagged
nectarines at the nicer
supermarket. The difference

between our cities is
craving: blueberry
and sweetsop. I am in awe

of the versatile cabbage
and the carrot that has
traveled miles, only to be

peeled naked at midnight.
From our bed I can hear you
eating. I refuse to say sorry

because there is nothing
wrong with asking for
another helping. I mean,

there are so many things
we can do to a roast chicken.
I have stopped counting.

_____________________

Jasmine Nikki “Nikay” C. Paredes was born and raised in Cebu City, Philippines. She received a BFA in Creative Writing from Ateneo de Manila University and an MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College. She is the author of the chapbook collection WE WILL SEE THE SCATTER(dancing girl press, 2014), which won first prize in the 2015 Maningning Miclat Poetry Competition. She currently teaches Creative Writing in the Ateneo de Manila University.