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


Copyright © 2019 by Angela Peñaredondo. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 4, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“‘Central Visayan Mountain Range, Philippines 1945’ is a poem that is part of a larger body of work. The poem takes place within a mountain range located in Panay, Philippines, the island of my birth. In this poem, which contains two queer lovers, I imagine an intimate space that arises out of personal war narratives that involve family members who fought and survived during World War II but who have now passed. Through a queer reimagining of these histories, I access other psychological terrains of trauma, thus challenging injustices and dominant narratives that occupy these historical spaces.”
—Angela Peñaredondo