SPOTLIGHT: I Am a Wound Shrouded in Devotion by Zeny May Recidoro

A Sardonic Boy

His family mistook his laconic ways
for a disdain of life, but
there were things that gave him joy
like garlic bread and Spiderman,
there were things he did with a touch of grace
like sitting at an eatery with friends
and laughing at despair.

Lost Things

On a boat en route to an island a woman sat next to me. It was a hot, damp summer. A child on the seat in front of us cried and cried. His skin was covered in little red dots. Allergies or maybe insect bites. Snot ran into his mouth as his father held him. Stoic and impenetrable, the father had arms that had only known lean years. His stoicism did not only manifest in parenthood. It extended to all aspects of his life— waiting for harvest, tariffs, laws, loans, and reforms that have bled him dry, pestilence and typhoons, dark months, days without hope, land grabbers and their private armies, guns, and yet the insistence for a solution however temporary. On the horizon, a mountain, the island. The woman beside me began to talk. A freight company had lost a package of hers. A care box that contained precious things: perfumes, t-shirts, shoes, cans of corned beef and Spam, jeans with money tucked in the pockets, dresses, toys, lotion, shampoo, soap, jewelry, trinkets… the fruit of her life’s work to be offered to family members who may no longer recognize her. A visitor to the homeland, curious and confused at the change so immense that it has circled back to a place we do not recognize. After being away for so long, I am confronted with a present moored in the past imagining itself as the future… We lose them as fast as we gain them. The woman scoffed at my remark. All these years chasing clout and all I ever learned was to shrug things off and look the other way. We all sat in silence. The child laid his head on his father’s bony chest. Beside them was a bag of everything they needed and nothing to lose.

Christmas in the Philippines

Mother of Pearl lanterns and greasy food, the gift
a mug with a rolled up towel inside
the lucky ones get trinkets
so useless and so beautiful.

Monito and Monita, never truly getting what they want,
desires satiated, bodies full to the throat
with treats, the unseen despair and anxiety
of a household spending on food it cannot afford
to consume, the worrisome tune
tries to be cheerful, relief in living
each day as though Judgment has arrived.


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