Green landscape. The smell of grass and petrichor. Bob Dylan sings Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door. Well, there’s no Bob Dylan. I just can hear the song and I’m thirsty and there’s no water so I look for water. A house shows up, it’s far, yet still I run toward it and hundreds of dark brown and pale yellow goats follow me and when I stop they stop and when I look at the teal blue sky, how in its clouds cactuses have grown downward the hundreds of goats I am with also take a deep breath in uneasy awe of how the world has changed. A limb of a herd of goats I am it seems, but that doesn’t matter to my thirst. The fact that I have horns but a tail also doesn’t matter to my thirst. I continue running forward, toward the house that’s getting bigger and more circumstantial as I run. We reach the house and the goats around me look puzzled like eleven year olds who are told by God himself after descending from heaven, “I am definitely dead.” I ask them whether everything is okay or not, whether it is normal for anything green to suddenly turn into snow white except every goat is transfixed. The house, its surface covered with fish scales as it appears, suddenly collapses as though someone pulls the most important bone that makes the entire assemblage stand out. Not a scary sound, the collapse, all of us are not moving, and my mouth gets absolutely dry, and the wide smell of grass and petrichor is replaced by a very intense chilling air, like giant cold hands wringing our bodies as though they are dirty blankets soaked in ice water, being washed. From the collapsed house comes the president in his sleeping pajamas, a skinned goat hangs dead on his left shoulder. We move back, slowly, I don’t know why we are moving back, but we are moving back, and then we are running back. The president, maybe because we startled him or because I’m thirsty, is now running after us and he militantly jumps over a goat and straightaway plucks out one of its horns. I don’t know the name of that goat, I don’t even know whether that goat has a name, but it is bleeding and can’t stand. We stop. Two critical yards between us and the president, who is now wrestling with the injured goat, nobbling it by the neck. We watch as the president tears the flesh of the skinned dead goat. We can’t blink. Why do we have to see this godless subjection? We can’t close our eyes to him forcefully feeding the observably subdued goat with raw goat meat, strangling it, choking it. We wish to close our eyes, but we really can’t and the wretched goat being fed glares at each of us as it bleeds, as it swallows the meat of its own kind.
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.