From Melismas

and

Translated from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim

Aside from water, aside from sailing, killings

and results of counting steps,

in pursuit of danger as well as familiarity

of gestures shielded from view by dayandang trees.

The season’s too cold for leaping

to conclusions on whether constellations are drifting farther

away from us. Doomsday cultists are coming out of the woodwork

these days, crowing about supposed signs

of the Second Coming. Do we now synchronize

our positions, are the children’s hearts

getting healthier, are the horses

trotting faster than before? Suppose I imagine

birds, will that conjure birds?

If I visualize paradise,

will that render visible the wind’s unseen machinery,

will that produce names for all kinds

of wounds to make plain the level of damage wrought

to the environment, to explain the water rise

going beyond the expected limits

assuming we can still consider as limits

the coiled ropes and upright pickets of my unease?