Karkarma*

*soul, vital energy, spirit (Ilocano)

To write on water, meaning
to understand a thing given form

as easily vanishes with the foam.
For instance, along the coast,

first they flay fish bodies then
string them with straw to hang

in the trees or spread on rooftops.
How is it such care is given

to preservation, meaning to deposit
thinned slivers in a jar of rice

and salt in order to ferment?
In catechism class years ago,

they taught about transubstantiation:
how a body distills from one material

state to another; how after form
is taken away, an essence remains.

How after the skins and pulp of fruit
are boiled, tears crystallize around

the vessel's rim and another body
thick as scent lingers in the room.


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