Published on Academy of American Poets (

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


Angela Peñaredondo

Angela Peñaredondo is the author of All Things Lose Thousands of Times (Inlandia Institute, 2016), winner of the Hillary Gravendyk Prize.

Date Published: 2019-01-04

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