Archipelago as sentence punctuated by water

“I want to look at my hands. I want to say something in the language of the ocean, the language of the rain.” ~ Kazim Ali

Ask me about anything else: how the night is a quiet carpet of stars, how the memory of water is preceded by a chorus of frogs. Don’t keep asking where I earned my degree, where I went to school, how I learned to speak such good English, if I’ve published anything. The moths make a swish around a pool of light, and it doesn’t matter. We love what we love, at noon or in the darkness. We can’t help who we are. Don’t correct my grammar just so you can find something to say. Don’t tell me about your stint abroad and how you had a live-in maid; or the unbelievably low rent for your apartment. In the country, past dusk, we learn to drive so as not to startle deer into leaping straight into the headlights. There is one time when the animal is mortally wounded. On our part, a twisted side mirror as casualty. There are many names for a woman who calls a spade a spade, a scoundrel what he deserves. And I’m broken about how today, in Manila, the Chief Justice is ousted from the Supreme Court. At a party someone turns to me and asks me to check her neck and arms for ticks. There’s nothing there on her creamy skin. You walk through a field and think wildflowers. You walk through a street that isn’t packed with bodies, that isn’t surrounded by riot police. How many countries can you name, where movie stars become congressmen or senators? Erect statues for the ones who have the most number of mistresses, the most number of children from different partners. Name the last country in the world in which divorce is still illegal. I want to deliver the mail where the language of bribes is always trying without success to impersonate the rain.

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