Travelers

(October is Filipino American History month)

16

A TV producer calls,
wanting to know if I
have had any close
encounters with aswang
like in a recent episode of “Grimm”—
and why this creature targets
unborn fetuses curled tight like ferns
within their mothers’ wombs.

17

I don’t tell him
the usual stories
he’s already heard,
about jilted women
out to get revenge.

18

Instead I tell him
of the foreign ships
that crested the horizon,
and of their systematic
purge of the indigenous,
up and down the coast
four hundred years ago.

19

Babaylan,
Mambunong,
Manchachawak

S/he who spoke
to the ancestors
in moonlight, s/he
who wove the grain
into an abacus of prayer
and turned the third
eye to another world—

These ancient names
for seer, poet,
diviner,
shaman—

20

Banished
to the margins,
cast out as demons,
how could they not
become grotesque?
How could they not
now be almost un-
recognizable?

 

In response to Via Negativa: Ghetto moon.

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