I want to define the perimeter of this body. A convex to a pre-howling: the spine from here to there as a series of prepositions. The desire to run betwixt emerges as folded space, more on this later, further associations on monsters to be investigated while the possibility of walking remains viable.
To inhabit the landscape of the fairytale today begins in reverse. In dreams the monster occurs as sound:
The cry of a night bird in the jungle becomes louder even from a distance. I hurry to belong to this place: a hut leans at the edge of a coconut grove with windows that do not close, which simply means you can see the stars in auntie’s house at night.
A shape I am bringing to life, an earlobe scratching into and out of seeing. A fist is everything and nothing; beetles fill the sky; thru shadow—mating.
Similar to the cawing of blackbirds as heard in childhood. In the denseness of a planted grove or a woman bearing gifts uninvited to your doorstep: always carry salt, mother tells me, an uninvited woman always signals bad luck; they are closer than you know.
Recalls detail through what’s broken: mother and auntie’s English.
Men complicate women’s desires, mother tells me. Finishing with, there are women who wish to take yours away. Her smile shifts into something more human, more woman, like fibers reaching across.
Sucks blood from fetuses with long antennae-like proboscis making a
Superstition practices gestures quietly, while no one seems to be watching, much like the way air sucks moisture. As the sky breaks, the spirits warn auntie that it is not safe for me to swim; I scan the spring for a lifeguard? The clutching of an empty coconut husk reveals this news— like coir reaching— his cracked fingers ooze white, considered good luck.
Watches as the coconut grove filled with red earth become a sea of hard-shelled insects: a surface of tricking. Stepfather arrives to the smell of tamarind; we march through his well-intentioned remarks.
Opens mouth by retrieving memory’s connective tissues, bends as if to remember and forgets. Transforms banana stalks into replicas of victims; approaches light, watches it break apart like bones: flies.
Outside auntie’s house red ants gather in rows, their compound eyes,
breaking sight, much like a kaleidoscope. Seeing movement better
than shape, notice the way light filters: appendage-like, seeping into
braided fronds. It’s roof, walls re-arriving.
Cousins plead come follow; I must find shoes. BILIS, they shout. I hurry to belong to this place where the red horizon stretches from auntie’s yard to the sea. I follow their voices until I can no longer walk. Red ants eat at chubby folds of leg—through panties. I stop in the coconut field, high in the bent light of canopy, cousins laughing, pointing:
Can be distinguished from humans by bloodshot eyes. When father died mother
sat corpseside for seven days until he was buried to guard against modified forelimbs
appearing—wings: oil-slicked, so black resembling purple.
Changes with the seasons: wet then dry. Obeys. Reads newspaper by stacking neatly against the hearth on top of others.
Capsizes on vowels through bending trees, hears the whistling
of prepositions; we watch light; a sea of vertical orange, bent, stacked at
market, or eaten in palms of hands fold into crevices, into the grove,
into dusty hands, the jungle’s pot-holed surface splits in two—
The cry of a night bird in the jungle becomes louder even from a distance. Mother tells me this is to create confusion, stuffing salt into our pockets:
Born in Subic Bay, Philippines, Mg Roberts teaches in the San Francisco Bay area. She is an MFA graduate of New College of California, where strange tricks were added to her bag. Her work has appeared and or is forthcoming in Indefinite Space, Word For/Word, How2, KQED’s Writers’ Block, and Word Riot. Her second chapbook is forthcoming from Magenta Press. If she were not a poet she would be a snake handler, or maybe just a good speller.