Imagined Love Poem to my Mother from my Father

My mermaid, I watched you scaling milkfish.
Your hands and arms were silver, 
and your body flecked 
with otherworldly raindrops. 
You were a silver mine to be mined.
Perched on a high branch of your mother's 
mango tree, I saw only a glimmer 
of the blade as you scaled the fish, up- 
and-down strokes, repeatedly, 
gracefully, like an artist whose gift courses 
through her veins.  A strand of your hair 
danced across your forehead, sweat 
trickled down the joyous strained lines 
of your neck, and your breasts, like twin
bells, I heard their transcendental 
sounds.  The glistening, naked 
milkfish escaped the warm Pacific 
for such honor.  Kismet, chosen by Neptune,
it entangled itself on the fisherman's 
net and beckoned you with its fresh, 
clear eyes.  You sliced 
its stomach, sweet blade twisting
in me, scooped out its innards, 
the heart, pulled out the gills
from underneath its head's protective plates.
I almost fell off the tree, there was a deep 
aching in my chest, and my breathing 
was shallow.  Crouched beside the spigot, 
you pumped for water with brisk motions
of your brown arms, cleaning the fish, cradled 
by the softest hands, blood 
and scales streaming onto the earth.
Didn't you hear the fish mouthing my words
as you were salting it: Do unto me, the spy
up on the thick fruit tree, as you have done 
unto the milkfish?  One day I hope 
to recite for you these verses
and in my voice you will hear, 
from across the oceans surrounding
the archipelago, as if reverberated through
the ages, the voice of our future son.

From Imago by Joseph O. Legaspi (CavanKerry Press, 2007). Copyright © 2007 by Joseph O. Legaspi. Used with the permission of the poet.