Meruem and Papa

Meruem. That heartless Chimera Ant King.

Devouring fighters for Nen. A meat orchard of  his guards’ bodies. 

Impaling children. A sore loser 

murdering unwilling Gungi opponents when defeated.

What a spoiled, self-centered traitor. I wish you were gone, 

I screamed at the screen.

I’d written the same thing

in my journals, under “Dear Papa”.

Selfish people deserve no redemption, I thought,

and I had nothing good to say about



  1. a stranger who only shows up twice in a kid’s life to drink beer 

with her stepfather and to feed her fries for two hours 

before abandoning her again

Tenderness cuts me open 

when I see a heart aching to follow a dying love.

When Komugi chose to follow Meruem to the death,

his poisoned green body humbled by endings,

I saw Papa in a coffin again, surrounded by weeping wives

and half-siblings I met for the first time.

Once again, my tears knew better than seeing in black and white.

Once again asking, Isn’t it strange how compassion swoops in 

at the last minute

to save us 

from our bitter poisons, our slow death?

Gretchen is a writer of poems and creative nonfiction. Her work appears in Rappler, Philippines Free Press, Anti-Heroin Chic, Rejection Lit, Maudlin House, Janus Literary, and elsewhere. She resides in the Philippines with her daughter, kooky cats, and dogs. Say hi on Twitter @gretchenfilart, on Instagram @ourworldinwords_, or on her website,

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