Bellyful of Fire


The soldiers filled their lungs with water, she was told.
The joke was that every man who went missing in the prisons
Had grown a pair of gills.

There were explosions in the dungeons,
Of skin, like plastic, reaching its elasticity,
Ballooning into foam, and whoever listened to all these tales
Wished to be thrown into the smouldering bay.

Sunsets melted strafing birds melted
Every pelting prostate out in the fields
Where once the hero stood and now lies restless.

Who could have stopped the murderous rain?
And who could bear the creamed and red-dusted
Bodies of angels, sweet, small cherubs upon bayonets:

Fishballs, quekiam, squid swimming in oil.
Tusok-tusok goes the girl, scanning the corridor
For the crush of a lifetime, and a jerk for a date.

He comes.

She has just dropped Philippine History,
Having exceeded her tally of absences, for
She couldn’t wag the proper tongue.

This is dinner, she thinks, and thinks about her future-Sodden
thunderous affliction brimming, south and under.
Off to the sunken garden she wanders, and wonders little else,
Except whether the rubber buoys in her bag won’t break while

She’s at it.


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