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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)

  • Activities

Poet Bio

Joseph O. Legaspi
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 Threshold, Imago, 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. See More By This Poet

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