Two hundred fifteen frames of cross-stitch embroidery.
Beautiful. All done
in rapacious sorrow.
Sixty-three days from plaintive love I have
not come back yet.
And the wounded says look at me
please look at me
just look at me.
I put a pail of ice into his old trouser I re-stitched as a bag to help the ember-hot wound,
until both of us forget each other.
(Forgetting each other always sounds easy.)
The wound is there but there is no wound to see, this is not
The wound is there but there is no wound to see.
You should remember
the problem of an unnamed survivor of the Vietnam war, not too long
after the war they woke
up in the middle of the night with hands very tired
to dozens of huge pencil sketches—creepy
for being almost real. (This is a true story.)
They said in anguished bedazzlement I didn’t make this,
I don’t know how I made this—how
from their release another entrapment ensued—
lo, they faked their sleep to see if they might see that who used their hands
in their privacy without their consent.
or a thing of no rest used their hands they were so sure.
(Were they thinking they were assaulted?)
Not this time, it was a matter of uneven communication.
you know when a message couldn’t come
the moment it had to
and when it came it was no longer a message
but a big old tree stump above your chest.
(You think they needed it, a conversation.)
In their pretend sleep
every little thing began to be magnified—this is familiar
like when a book with the words “tragic” and “distance” in its title
brought you back
on a long lost Sunday and its afternoon sex was unprotected
and you didn’t mind you couldn’t go out because you were
confident your Ox tail soup recipe was perfect—
Butterflies in the mind drop their little heads
out of bounds. What do bounds know? The rules, world should be beautiful
oh so beautiful
but they couldn’t hear a single thing
other than a hefty heartbeat every minute. Rippling through cotton shirt.
When there should be at least music
or one talking
there is no music no one talking.
They opened their eyes and thought of their previous house.
It saw a completely different life.
A good life, every day hears love
and love knows every night hears the same.
No question, a remarkable life.
And then there was a loud explosion.
They remember they screamed and screamed and then
they spoke in a restrained voice.
I will go there with you.
All mistakes are mine.
I will not go there without you.
People knew exactly what they wanted and they wanted to never be alone.
But people were puppets whose strings were being pulled left and right
Helicopters wouldn’t land but also helicopters wouldn’t soar high.
And that had to do with another explosion.
It rained suddenly, but was not ordinary, the entire place smelled
They couldn’t stand up, not right away
not at all.
B.B.P. Hosmillo is a queer and anti-colonial writer from the Philippines. He is the author of Breed Me: a sentence without a subject / Phối giống tôi: một câu không chủ đề (AJAR Press, 2016) with Vietnamese translation by Hanoi-based poets Nhã Thuyên and Hải Yến. His writing is anthologized in Bettering American Poetry 2015 and has appeared in Apogee Journal, Connotation Press, SAND: Berlin’s English Literary Journal, The Collapsar, The Nottingham Review (UK), and Transnational Literature (Australia), among many others. His interviews can be read in Misfits Magazine (UK) and VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. He is the founder of Queer Southeast Asia: A Literary Journal of Transgressive Art, a poetry reader for BOAAT Journal, and occasionally a guest poetry editor for Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. He is currently the Associate Expert at the International Information and Networking Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region under the auspices of UNESCO in South Korea, where he is finishing his next poetry book, Black Paradise.