Every tremor, every crack and warning, I duck and cover.

Upside down table,
Cracked glass,
Broken cup.
Pieces scattered on the floor like shrapnel.
Boiled cabbage floating in the sink, spilling over.
A perfect 8.2.

My mother’s eyes, uneven and glassy like chipped marbles.
My mouth, dry like his breath.

His hands, empty like a translucent vase,
The dust and smoke have settled now.

When he says sorry
I plaster a smile just as houses are rebuilt after destruction.

His eyes are cloudy
I can’t see him as a child and
How he wore his pants, sewed together with patches of cloth to cover the holes and tears
or
How he ate snakes during his year in the military
or
how his father left the earth with coal in his veins and blood

I know, swimming somewhere in
those darting, dark pupils are these memories

But all I see is the exhaust escaping his heavy breathing,
rising in and out the concaves of
his face.

Janet Paik is a freshman majoring in Illustration at SVA. She loves halal, specifically chicken over rice, and has recently discovered the miracle that is the Donut Plant.