(This feature is part of TRUCK’s Theme Issue on the List or Catalog Poem. You can go HERE for an Index of the Participating Poets.)
an excerpt from Rehome: The Attrition of Luz
Home #1. –
Home #2. –
How to shape my lips to fit this.
Home #3. Ormoc City, Leyte, Philippines
She knew something would happen two days before it did. She went outside where the air smelled like pig roast, sampaguitas and shit, and meditated on a stoop along the Malbasag River. She realized the circumstances of her birth were not unlike the baby Jesus. Her mother: thirteen, unwed and pregnant. There was no father because she was immaculately conceived. No, there was a father; her father was god.
Home #4. Tacloban, Philippines
She didn’t learn of her divinity until she was eleven years old, but others had already begun to suspect it when she was four. Her foster father, drunk on San Miguel and an unbearable sun, lunged at her with a karambit knife and the next thing she knew she was crouched down on all fours on the highest branch of a jackfruit tree.
“She flew! She flew!” the housemaid shrieked.
“She didn’t fly, she floated!” her foster mother said.
That evening, at exactly 7:00pm, a social worker arrived. After three hours of trying to coax Luzviminda out of the tree, they decided to saw it down.
Once on the ground, she looked up and shook her little fist: “Ako si Luzviminda. Huwag mo akong kalimutan.” I am Luzviminda. Don’t you forget me.
Home #5 Angono, Rizal, Philippines
Home #6. Taytay, Rizal, Philippines
The process of becoming an adult happens very quickly. In a night that turns the blackness to lemon green, the moon ashen. Irises the shape of discs transmute into crescents. A shooting star fixes forever on the retinas. This is the moment he asks you how an Asian leopard cat moves and you immediately drop to the ground on all fours. This is Luzviminda. Before she bends, she whispers, “ako si Luzviminda. Huwag mo akong kalimutan.”
Home #7. Metro Manila, Philippines
Luzviminda can't think in the way you want her to. If you try to push her into talking she’ll start rocking – an outrigger several knots from where it started - staring at the wall until she sees herself reflected back. The caretaker calls the children to the table for dinner. When Luzviminda doesn’t turn, the caretaker taps her shoulder. She flinches. Sensation hurts. What can we do? We stop. Instead, we wait. At the limit or point beyond which the thinking begins. Ako si Luzviminda. Huwag mo akong kalimutan.
Home #8. Metro Manila, Philippines
Home #9. Muntinlupa City, Philippines
Days later, in a different house, she awoke to discover the white linens had turned red and she bled for six days. After, she climbed an iron fence and found a garden where she picked lemons from the tree and squeezed them, letting the juices run down her face, her neck. To cleanse the body.
That day the Pasig River reversed itself and flowed upwards. Taking her towards the sky. Along an orange-red blue. What does it mean to switch hands? To go. Again. To go. Again. To go. Again. Again. To go.
Ako si Luzviminda. Huwag mo akong kalimutan.
Ako si – Ako si – Ako si –