Etiologies: A Brief Cultural Guide

Namamana  

Those migraines 
in the afternoon;
scales on your scalp
or blotchy skin—
it's in the blood.

Lihi

The extra finger
on your left hand,
the skin flap
under your chin—
What did your mother
look at when you
were in the womb?

Sumpa

Your stomach 
pains are caused
by an enemy who wrote
your name on a slip
of paper and dripped
hot wax on it.

Pasma

The hilot pauses
before massaging
your spine with warm
coconut oil. She says
a cold stone lies 
in your solar plexus,
as if you swallowed 
it whole. 

Namaligno

Don't walk 
beneath the trees
at sundown. Don't 
pick the strange,
beautiful flowers
that weren't there
yesterday.

Kaloob ng Diyos

What the universe
lent you, it can
recall.

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