Angela Gabrielle Fabunan



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).