By Joseph O. Legaspi
Bitaug, Siquijor, Philippines
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)
More Poems about Activities
When you caught one to keep,
we took it home and I asked you to teach me.
You showed me how to spike the brain—
I thanked the fish, looked away, pressed down.
We bled it, shaved away the scales,
severed meat from bone.
A Wing and a Prayer
We thought the birds were singing louder. We were almost certain they
were. We spoke of this, when we spoke, if we spoke, on our zoom screens
or in the backyard with our podfolk. Dang, you hear those birds? Don’t
they sound loud?...