In Vigan

In Vigan, you can ride an old-fashioned caruaje
just to listen to the clop-clop-clop of horses'

hooves on cobblestones. The churches 
are old and musty, but you can stick as many 

votive candles as you have prayers for into a tray. 
Then you'll go to the market to buy ar-arosip,  

longanisa, and bagnet—which the women
wrap in butcher paper. Everything, including the air, 

seems underlined with notes of smoke and dried 
tobacco leaf. In the heat of mid-afternoon, 

you imagine Leona Florentino happy in exile,
writing her feminist poems in another town, away

from husband and children; then sharing a cup 
of tuba with her favorite wine seller at sundown.

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