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The deluge is not enough to heal

CAS for Database

Claudia Ann Seaman Award

Yvanna Vien Tica

Metro Manila, Philippines

Faith Academy


“Over 700,000 children among the most affected as super typhoon Rolly/Goni hit the Philippines” - UNICEF Philippines

To revive the river spilling

              from our farm, delusioned romantic

with all its sharp pebbles

              for bones. To feel water flirting all over my tongue.

To wash it clean of rooster gizzards

              greased straight from the palengke. To beg for the color

of it—clear unlike the earth

              angry at us. Pity this: Tatay

killed our old horse yesterday,

               and we tried to look away as he offered his last

tears to the sky. I’d like to forget that. To savior us

                from the mosquitoes our young cousins succumbed

to. To savior me from hiding

              under the wide fronds of our banana tree so I can cut

my hair against the rocks

               in rebellion. To tear all my painstakingly starched uniforms

into offerings. To the mountain

              mournful as ever. To suffocate this air of loss. Pity this:

Ate ran away to the city with a man

               she barely knew and sends us money to keep Nanay

from searching though she refuses to eat.

                 To run and follow my sister without the dogs echoing

like haunts. To escape the horizon

              with its fingers and eyes like boys hungry

for a girl’s long hair. To rage

               against the sky who mocks us with floods

or memories of them. To rage

                without consequence. To love empty pockets

without consequence. Pity

                this: Nanay shredded the last of our rice to prepare

Ate’s favorite bibingka. Shrines

              of them fertilize the farm, and Tatay lets them

stay even when the flies greed

                over them for days, keeps me awake

with the multitude of them. Yes.

                I’ll even forget that.


Soaked with grief, rage, and a glimmer of hope, "The deluge is not enough to heal" is a poem that haunts us long after we have devoured its lines. Each story of loss is intimate but distant, nostalgic but painful, and this dichotomy helps us forget, but also remember, our past selves.

Editorial Praise from Tara Betts, Poetry Judge:

While reading "the deluge is not enough to heal," the waves seen in the arrangement of the lines mimic the waves of memory rendered by the poet. These images of a home long gone wash over the reader, but even as the poet promises to forget, the repetition of the infinitive building a rhythmic series of actions, lets readers know how difficult the forgetting is, if it's possible at all.

Yvanna Vien Tica is a Filipina writer who grew up in Manila and in a Chicagoland suburb. A high school senior, she is the 2021 Hippocrates Young Poet and the 2021 1455 Teen Poetry Contest Winner. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Verse Daily, Poet Lore, Hobart, Strange Horizons, and Shenandoah, among others. She edits for Polyphony Lit, reads for Muzzle Magazine, and tweets @yvannavien. In her spare time, she can be found enjoying nature and thanking God for
another day.


Poetry, Runner-Up

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