Kicking of Horror Matsuri, we have a poem by Therese Choon! This poem describes a night on ‘Tomb-sweeping Day’ which is a Spring Equinox holiday in Asia, but we’re happy to share it on the first day of the Mid-Autumn Festival. 🙂

Therese also has a new flash story to be published on October 23rd, and she’s a contributor in the just-released Southeast Asian Fantasy Drabbles. Please enjoy her poem today!

All poems this month will still be listed as part of our regular Instincts poetry series, but they are all horror/dark fantasy poems and included on the Horror Matsuri schedule as well. Links to new content will be added to the Horror Matsuri Calendar once the poem or story is available. Follow us by email so you don’t miss a new post!

image from Unsplash.com


I use a navigator app
to get myself to the cemetery.
It’s Tomb-Sweeping Day,
and everyone else had gone ahead.

(It’s not like I want to go.
I’m post-duty, fresh from the hospital,
where death and life is a cycle,
like a spinning wheel— of fortune or misfortune?)

The moment I step through the cemetery’s gates,
the navigator outlives its usefulness.
I cross myself and plug in music
to keep the ghosts at bay.
(It’s daytime, though.
Weird— I’ve seen much worse, so why?)

There is an old sign
pointing to the crematorium— ah, yes.
Our family plot is behind it.
I must hurry. Everyone is waiting.

I get lost, soon enough.
Shouldn’t have taken the shortcut—
now, I’m totally alone.
(But it’s Tomb-Sweeping Day.
Where is everyone else?)

I trudge on, unease creeping in.
Fragments of chilling tales resurface,
sending my tired mind haywire with fear—
I only understand the science of the body,
not the depth of the soul.

There are all sorts of tombs—
big and small, stone and marble,
remembered and abandoned.
Some practically mansions, grand and imposing,
and I wince— I thought death was supposed to be
the Great Equalizer? If so, then why
does the cycle of fortune and misfortune continue
like a spinning wheel— as it has done in life?

(I’ve seen much worse, I remind myself.
The world is unfair.)

(Why must the world be unfair?
All I want is to sleep.)

There’s a stone on the path, and I trip.
Everything resets with a thud.
Suddenly, I see with clarity
where everyone else had been,
and I’m not as lost as I think I am.

Mother dresses the scrape on my knee,
daintily bleeding out onto my white pants.
She admonishes— “You should have called us,
and didn’t I tell you not to plug in music
when you are walking? Foolish child.”

I smile tiredly in response.
I’m post-duty, fresh from the hospital,
but it’s Tomb-Sweeping Day, too,
so I’m here, anyway— I made it.


Therese Choon is a physician from the Philippines. She mainly pens fan fiction in her spare time, but has also dabbled in some original pieces. Her story, “Heterochromia”, is included in Insignia Stories’ SEA Fantasy Drabbles anthology. She can be found on Twitter as choonxie.


Universal Link: https://books2read.com/insignia-seafd

Direct Links: 

Amazon US– Amazon UK â€“ Amazon AUS

Amazon JP â€“ Amazon CA â€“ Amazon IN

KOBO â€“ NOOK â€“ Scribd â€“ Smashwords



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