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By Joseph O. Legaspi

Three women dragged the spiky, bulky mass

onto a bamboo table on the side of an island


road. A raised hunting knife glinted in sunlight,

then plunged with a breathless gasp, slicing into


the unseen. To a passerby they were a curious

wall, a swarm of onlookers, barrio children


and younger women, buzzing with a rising

gleeful cadence as a mother busied herself


with the butchering. Surprisingly, a citrusy,

sugary scent sweetened the stranger’s face


when offered the yellow flesh like thickened

petals, licorice to the touch, he stood awed


at the monstrous jackfruit, bloodless armadillo

halved, quartered, sectioned off for feasting.


His tongue tingled ripely. This country’s foreign

to me, he continued, but I’m not foreign to it.


Source: Poetry (July 2017)

Poet Bio

Poet Joseph Legaspi was born and raised in the Philippines; his family immigrated to Los Angeles when he was 12. He earned a BA at Loyola Marymount University and an MFA from New York University. Legaspi’s collections of poetry include ThresholdImago, which won a Global Filipino Literary Award, and the chapbook Subways. With Sarah Gambito, Legaspi cofounded Kundiman, a nonprofit organization that promotes and serves Asian American writers and writing. Legaspi lives and works in New York City.

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