Literary Life

Five Poems

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Butterflies
(written for a friend)

I let the butterflies out
Of my chest
Willingly
And see them burn themselves
One by one
Just to write your name.

A Name
(written for a friend)

What’s in a name?
Is it the sweetness
every time the letters
composing your
word burst under
my tongue’s cave?
Or, is it the name-
less thrill I feel
every time I strip
you of your word,
and hide it inside
my pocket and
you not knowing it?


Song of Jenny
(After watching a news feature about a young girl named Jenny. She guides her blind father Dodong to work every day.)

Before the dawn comes,
I perch, like a bird, on the shoulders
Of my blind father,
To be his eyes.
Today, like other days,
Heavy mountains
Will be my playground.
Coconut heads
He will gather
And I, the dried leaves.
He will not complain,
For I will sing to him.
“You are not heavy,”
He would say.
Father, is there a thing heavier
Than this world to bear?

Waiting for the Angels of the Night
(News Item: Cold kills the poor in Brazil’s richest city
June 30, 2016)

Cold creeps again, pale as Death
Her long arms emaciated,
Bloodless.
Her sharp fingernails,
Dripping with dirt
Marking my skin, her territory.
My skin – a stranger’s skin
My blood, no longer mine. She draws
No blood.
“You are mine,” her whisper, cold.
Her eyes of death,
Piercing my soul
A single breath
I keep hidden under
My blanket. (She)They strip me
Homeless.
“The security officers did it.” local media accused.
But I am homeless. Stripped.
“Please. Bring my blanket back first.
Please.
It’s cold in here.”

Holy Water
I drank a glass of water.
I thirst.
I drank a glass of water.
I thirst—
A woman’s tear in my throat.
I thirst.
A river is inside me.
I am river.
I am river – meeting two seas
Beside me.

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