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of course, i know about the one about the soldier
who went missing and was found with his
intestines arranged in a circle around him.
the one about the recruit who was woken
up in the middle of the night by his buddy
who needed to use the toilet and when rubbing
sleep from his eyes in the corridor remembered
that his buddy was on mc. the voice he heard
calling his name as he sprinted his way back
to his bunk. and of course, there are the rules:
say sorry before you pee into a tree, don’t
bring pork into the camp or you will make
them angry, the medic room at nee soon camp
whose light remains perpetually on because
if you turned it off, you will see someone
standing there in the darkness. and at that same
camp they say in the canteen there is an old radio
perpetually playing cantonese love songs and no one
can tell you what will happen if it ever stops. but the one
that gets me always is the one about the soldier
who was possessed the moment he stepped foot
on an island, any one of the islands, and when
the spirit was asked why it chose to make its home
in that body of flesh and not one of the many
many trees that surrounded them, the spirit
would only say that all the trees were full.

Natalie Wang is a Singaporean poet. She has been published in Fairy Tale Review, Cordite Poetry Review, and Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, amongst others. Her book The Woman Who Turned Into A Vending Machine is a collection of poems on metamorphosis, myth, and womanhood. You can find her at
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8 Apr 2024

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