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  You could have a big dipper   

Procrustean Tendency by Rigel Portales

The calamansi pulp from your childhood

overripens itself by the next dreamy morning.

Flat-footed boy

runs down

the ancestral stairs.

Inay grips her arthritis

from the wet market,

(always in the two platinum hours

before an always great lunch)

thinks of sinigang,

but settles for the Knorr packet.

Inay calls him

to help her peel the shrimps,

the serrated helm

the segmented shells

all into the boiling pot.

He calls Inay

from high above the steps.

He barrels down—doesn’t flinch

(he is circumcised now after all,

watched the whole bloody affair

just to brag about)

from the spot where he broke

his metatarsals

where Inay fell

a few times.

And in his flights

of some greater feature

with cheeks vitally plump,

(but stern impatience perhaps)

she guides his hand

over the downy the bloody flesh

kamote leaves of tomatoes

from the spoiled pile,

as he recognizes, together,

what can be saved.


Rigel Portales is a self-taught Filipino poet afraid of disappearing. Fortunately, his works have appeared on the Oyster River Pages, Ghost City Review, and on his Twitter account @rijwrites where he writes to preserve and preserves to write. His biggest inspirations are his impenetrable sister and his beautiful parents.

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