School for Slaying

No pair of socks stitched on
with his initials but the drab
condom balloon fully blown
for his fantasy birthday party,

already a vagabond at seven
and incapable of tot rhymes,
he is eager to learn all about
the point honed on the sand

or the whetting of the edges
still dull on the skin thickened
by dirt and dark from summer,
the pop of air unable to bleed,

not sure how to cleave in half
the braided string he dangles,
and the bullfrog croaks nearby,
his eyes panning in excitement.

Boiling Rice Today

Nothing to wash
up to three times
to get rid of dust
from milled grains
and loose starch,
she filled the pot
made of cast iron,
eyeballing within,
the empty volume
of the water clear
like a lake languid
in the high-noon
sun and its depth
she did not have
to measure with
her teensy fingers.

Anything useless
in the old kitchen
appearing stygian,
the color of wood
ash accumulating
to be wind-blown
and the thick layer
of soot on the wall,
a whole of recycled
pieces of rusted tin
nailed on for a false
promise of privacy,
her head still above
the water like a dull
vanity glass mirror,
her face was gaunt.

Pubertal Pacifism

The world a sinkhole,
my mind plagued
with pulled toenails
and scorched hair,
thoughts of revenge
are swallowing me,
even my exhaled air.

But I do not want
to end up like them,
his state assassins
and her executioners,
gorged by anger
mutating into hate,
the id of longing.

To forget the horrid
shapes of curling,
I lie on my stomach
and let the breeze
cling to my oiled skin,
my eyelids closed,
touching as if loved.

Night Jasmine Vendor

Before they began
swallowing rice worms
and feasting on
the crunch of weevils
and scad soaked
in recycled formalin,

those men idling
on the street corners,
as if for a vigil
under the dull bulbs
of electric posts,
their loss in a roulette,

would buy flowers
I strung into white leis
for the protection
of their altar statues
they suffocated
for more blessings.

When the peso
fell and all the prices
rose like a curse,
their pssts stopped
and the jasmines
withered in my hands,

the thin strings
too feeble to choke
the breaths out
of my parched throat
that had forgotten
the taste of ice water,

so I crushed
the dried blossoms
to steep them
in alcohol for wounds,
pulled my skirt,
and gave discounts.