Every year those who relish a particular taste
pry open this wound using blunt instruments
such as a butter knife or a spoon.
Nothing surgical, for they want the mess
to be visible to everyone. See how it hurts.
It is a strange wound felt
deeply by all who saw its birth
televised. Distances conquered
by grief via satellite.
I remember that disbelief,
texture of leather
in the back of my throat.
Then just as quickly came the fear
of who might be blamed.
The hows and whys and whos
that led to the wound were officially declared
but never put to rest.
Repetition turned to religion.
The wound itself became reason enough
to inflict misery a thousandfold greater.
Years later we are told again
this wound alone matters.
Let nothing get in the way
of this crucifixion.
- from Alien to Any Skin, Manila, University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2011
Jim Pascual Agustin writes and translates in Filipino and English. He moved to Cape Town, South Africa in 1994. His work has appeared in Rhino, World Literature Today and Modern Poetry in Translation among others. His eighth book of poetry, Wings of Smoke, published in 2017 by UK-based independent publisher The Onslaught Press and is available through them and most online retailers. Jim shares random thoughts and drafts on www.matangmanok.wordpress.com. Twitter @matangmanok