my country always from a burning tank by B.B.P. Hosmillo

a woman bald the smell of ash

that used to be hair

looks five times her age

call her pearl call her orient call her philippines call her

and flames drop from her face like snake heads

she says god grew tired of us

she’s waited for the wars to be over

imagine her eyes turning completely red in the peopled wailing

when white men stuck on a globe of happiness

that had absolutely no world

but a fabric of blood and synthetic stars

why wait for too long, and do it all over again?

it could be that she is no longer waiting

perhaps this is her eruption the right to display

what has waiting taken away from her

now she has just an eye

where can one eye take her? I don’t know

I don’t even know why I have patience

call her surviving call her philippines call her right eye

do you see what I see?

it is not a miracle

her one and only eye cannot move, blink, or cry

not anymore

like an earth bereft of sense and majesty

have you been in such a place?

this is why she says

this is not life I tell her body

that is heavily burned

the color of coconut husk

her neck, breast, ribcage, legs

more of a stretched out coconut husk than human

I was punished

in any sickness of time nobody deserves that

those years, as I say, are done

but punishment has no exact ending

inexactitude makes punishment punishment

a girl comes next, looks like her child

looks okay, right for her age

but you haven’t heard what’s screaming above her

who’s steaming rotten meat behind her

how many angry men are eating after her

how there’s not one sound of pulse inside her

or where her heart is inside her

and why there’s a phallic monument

inside her

and then comes another girl and another girl and a boy

and another boy and the rest—all shadows

I ask them if they are hungry

if they could hear me

if I could walk them to the nearest hospital

if they could stay

if they could talk

I write on my map

“this is where the future would likely perish without knowing it”
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.