in a rural mass, a deaf woman
sitting on a pew answers the catechism
vowelsexpand rounding with air, but does not
sever from her throat. no matterhow deep
the wind fists, her drumswon’t sound.
how the tongue could only touch
as much as it has touched
her sins extra-terrestrial.
on a faded banig,a blind man makes love
withwhat feels like a sister after twelve
years of loving a wife.
by their bedside, a harem of black ants
removes the raised limbs
of a fly in the greatest act of falling
apart, he whispers
you’re beautiful in her ear and she
cannot hear, but believes.
she cannot hear the Father who touches her
forehead, drawing a black cross
then taking that sacrifice
to his lips as he kisses her
like a child.she professes her love yet he hears
amenand all is forgiven. her fist
clenching a rosary, ash of palms burying
in her neck while he, like a child
bit and bit. amen and amen.
she professed her love and he believes –
thereare no creatures as forever as colour
no animal as colourless than her
even when she made love
with another, there is a place
darker than this that the light
hasn’t reached. why stand blocking
taking in every stray
fahrenheit, when they can lay
untouched, side by side?
*noli me tangere– ‘touch me not’
**banig – handwoven mat
Mariel Alonzo is an emerging Filipina poet and an undergraduate student of Psychology in the Ateneo de Davao University. Recently, she was shortlisted for the Oxford Brookes International Poetry Prize judged by Hannah Lowe and was a finalist for the 2015 Winter Tangerine Review Poetry Competition judged by Ocean Vuong. She is currently a poetry reader for the U.S. -based “The Adroit Journal” and a humanitarian blogger for Association of World Citizens Youth.