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?

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Author: Marlon Hacla

Marlon Hacla’s first book, May Mga Dumadaang Anghel sa Parang (Manila: National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 2010), was published as part of UBOD New Authors Series II. His second book, Glossolalia, was published by High Chair in 2013. He also released two chapbooks, Labing-anim na Liham ng Kataksilan (2014) and Melismas (2016). He lives in Quezon City, Philippines, with his cats.
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Author: Kristine Ong Muslim

Kristine Ong Muslim is the author of nine books of fiction and poetry, including The Drone Outside (Eibonvale Press, 2017), Black Arcadia (University of the Philippines Press, 2017), Meditations of a Beast (Cornerstone Press, 2016), Butterfly Dream (Snuggly Books, 2016), Age of Blight (Unnamed Press, 2016), and Lifeboat (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2015). She is also the translator of two bilingual volumes of Marlon Hacla’s work: Melismas (Oomph Press, 2020) and There Are Angels Walking the Fields (forthcoming from Broken Sleep Books). Widely anthologized, Muslim’s short stories have appeared in Conjunctions, Dazed Digital, and World Literature Today.

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