Lumad – native or indigenous

“…news here …signifies little
but to say that something comes” ~ D. Bonta

This means to know

a chant for putting in the seed
a liniment for aching bones

This means to sew

a constellation of beads on dark woven ground
an intricate braid of horsehair for a collar

This means to coax

a lash of fibers stripped by hand from reeds
a rope to fix broad screens of leaves to house posts

This means to hum

a low supplication when crossing the plains
a prayer to ward off the evil ones and hurricanes

This means

a ritual for the birth of the child
a sacrifice of animals for the ones who have died (so many)

This means

a lake in the hinterland bordered by plantations
among them Dole Del Monte Unifrutti Sumifro

This means

a harvest of riches they’re told they do not own
a tube of sugarcane Cavendish bananas palm oil cacao rubber

This means

among the rare flora and fauna at daybreak
a priestess touches her forehead to the water and the earth

This means

a palm criss-crossed by marks and the labor of years
a child’s hand leathered like an ancient’s

This means

a type of plant whose flowers open their throats only at night
and the song of a mythical bird that could turn you to stone

This means

a stranger crossing into their villages eats of their food
and in this way wears their mantle of protection

This means

a five-note warble high in the trees
another one for coming danger

This means

a space grows wider every day from constant erasure
a memory collapses from its magnitude when there are no vessels left


In response to Via Negativa: In Cuba.

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