Angela Gabrielle Fabunan

Subic Bay

for Felipe


Niceties never killed anyone,

just words, said trying

at kindness, now tired,

as if in a boat race to the finish.

I will always out talk you

and you will smile softly

like a lover steeling the self

for a particular cruelty:

the sting, here at the shore,

waves hurtling sea-spray

towards where I’m standing.

You are coaxing the words

from their shells, like

a coxswain, such words urge

stones from pockets

but you’re already cold

by the time I send you

into the sea-wind. I see

your shadow on every

lover, how I turned

you mean, how you

turned me inward.

I send my tears to the pines

I could never wade in,

still warm, your harbor

lights welcoming me home.



“Subic Bay” is from The Sea That Beckoned (Platypus Press, 2019).