1. the uptown 6 screeches as the mango poem
lodged in my throat beckons to its brother
underneath the matching yellow and orange
subway seats. the man doesn’t notice his
lunch’s bruised rolling up and down the
sticky car floor. i want to tell him but
my tongue is a dam for my ocean. my yearn-
ing is transpacific—i hope our cousins can
feel it. the grease illuminates under hazy
lights doing their warm-up stretches. our
stop comes. we keep rolling.
2. beside the seatbelt forest, we are beached
on browning grass by a detergent stick losing
purpose in the dirt. i guess we’re both stains
of the earth. summer rays bake my ocean
leaving sea salt glinting on my shores.
i become hot honey. are there even hives
amidst the coconut trees? even the plants
up and over me are sweating. my hands look
up at me and i realize i’m leaking, too. maybe
it’s the dew of ancestors. my limbs are dried
palm leaves passed out in easter mass pews. i
fold myself during the homily.
3. computer-generated NPCs buzz in and out of mirror mazes,
discussing rendezvous points in neon tutus and spiked platform clogs
that my mother would politely smile at. i envy them. instead
i lose my youth in the crowd, right as we pass the mariachi band outside.
a mosh pit forms, but sadly i’ve since brittled—i shy away
for fear of cracking. when they leak banana milk, i dab at my eyes with
a durian, like we always do. i look up in the mirror again.
i wink back. she taps me in to the dance floor.
4. it’s hard to breathe down here,
where the polyester and rubber
wheeze at me. my jaw dirties in
the muddied beer but i don’t not-
ice until i get home. i rise and bob
above their sticky influence. my
skull’s about to burst at the intro,
then i let it. fuck the dam.
i flood and monsoon and become my own rainy season. a mango floats by. my winds
soprano at the foot of the stage. i change before my very eyes
Czaerra Galicinao Ucol is a queer Filipinx writer and educator born and raised in Chicago. They recently graduated from New York University with a B.A. in Asian/Pacific/American Studies. They are the Programs & Communications Director of Luya and a general reader for Marías at Sampaguitas. Czaerra is a 2020 Dreamyard Rad(ical) Poetry Fellow, with their work appearing in Walang Hiya and Talagang Pinxy. In their spare time, they enjoy cooking, listening to crashing waves, and dancing to Mitski’s entire discography. You can find them on Twitter and Instagram @czaerra.