There are only metaphors for becoming.
Only the sibuyas un-peeling its layers
calachuci spreading their petals
paruparo emerging from cocoons
events of blossoming, acts of uncovering, of nakedness.
There are no great metaphors for reversal.
Perhaps the process of drying plums
day-old tinapa fish in baskets
shrivelling into themselves
already frightened of exposure
of appointment and disappointment.
There’s nothing heroic about what you call maturing,
its simple truth, the inward turn, the change of color
on a once-green leaf—decaying then falling.
In a crowd you keep your mouth sealed
in your heart, the act of kimkim—
keeping in, tightly-held, a fist.
You know that what you have gathered
will not measure up to this new movement
the migration of self into self, layer into layer.
So you retreat to the planes of the mind, forgoing the body,
which in longing has assumed hurt,
the mind which has tied and knotted itself
into pieces that collide with each other, and cry
nanay, pushing the baby in the duyan.
The cry reverberates
and the walls are sobbing.
“Destination” is from The Sea That Beckoned (Platypus Press, 2019).