Central Visayan Mountain Range, Philippines 1945

when hiding from enemies


                                                  at least one dream away from
machines & from bodies that do not sleep that he drags
his thumb along his lover’s smudged chin, notices his face
   bathed earthen

the trees once giants, are giants again he tells the moon they come savage and without undoing

after a grenade falls a fresh cavity in the ground appears as a nest and he wishes his own children to forget him           they
will be the lucky ones       to live enemies must believe
   him gone

they are not from these caves dear santos dear virgen evoke what luz perpetual dear palmettos & salt water be all and his
   mouth too

his lover lies down wet ground speaking only what he knows dripping face the shrapnel moon       he whispers his want
to dissolve like this in ferns

to hold these contradictions in kinship

forming an arrowhead, ibises carry each other in the direction of
what i want to read as a glyph of hope.

i walk east—a parking lot almost burns—the dusk blushes,
lukewarm—then i’m back again on the balcony of my university
building six and half years ago before we met, wind transporting
brush sediments towards approaching summer.

those jacarandas and tolerant native vines—auspicious walks on
hot nights, a feline rolls her body in dirt. under this sky, i nurse
a kindling.

you feel gone more than ever. your shoulder turns over into
another bed. shadows lean into my neck like ink spill, reminding
me of those ibises and how i should proceed.

in absence, i despise what you’ve become, what you’ve always
been, a secret set loose and this body who prays for your

Related Poems

in puerto rico we inherit your wars

maldita sea we fight them and what did you give us

under the church in mayagüez there are taíno bones
the father knows it
all the fathers

he said take this ribbon and measure the church dimensions
tell me if it's worth
destroying faith for some bones

what i saw when i walked around with my ribbon
were old women praying to papito dios
with tears of faith for his creatures
malformed by desire
            airs of bettering what isn't enough
i saw the faces of saints some sweet and others
as arbitrary as abstinence 
more than anything i saw the gold the cruelty

i went back to the father after covering the church
with the ribbon the scene of a crime
and bendito i didn't ask for forgiveness
nor could i explain
            the newfound hate

en puerto rico heredamos tus guerras

maldita sea las peleamos y qué nos diste

debajo de la iglesia de mayagüez hay huesos de taíno
y el padre lo sabe
todos los padres

dijo toma la cinta y mide las dimensiones de la iglesia
dime si vale la pena
por unos huesos destruir la fe

lo que vi cuando caminaba con mi cinta
eran viejitas sentadas rezándole a papito dios
con lágrimas de fe por sus criaturas
malformadas por el deseo
                       aires de mejorar lo que no basta
vi las caras de santos algunos dulces y otros
tan abitrarios como la abstinencia
más que todo vi el oro la crueldad

volví al padre tras cubrir la iglesia con la cinta
la escena de una crimen
y bendito no le pedí perdón
ni pude explicarle
            el odio nuevo