Panagkasangay*

In the streets, people were returning  
with purple indelible ink on their thumbs
after voting in a referendum. 
                  The songs of the scissors-
grinder and bean curd vendor drifted in,
settling like quiet on the pillows.
                 My mother brought a bowl
steaming with the broth of clams to my lips.
My other mother smeared coconut oil
across the dome of my newly
emptied womb. There was a moment when I
          couldn't remember the name attached
to this body, where the plumb line was 
that drifted down and down
through it. They said, 
       that's the price you pay for learning
to call to the moon for another body to tend,
for holding as much of your breath
as long as you can
             until it holds out its mouth
or tells you it wants a name 
shaped like a cloud.
             
 

* ~ Ilocano: birth(day)  

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