Enchanted is a Word for Haunted


After the Bikolano Myth, “The Enchanted Lake of Buhi”


On all sides of the fishing pond, a maw.
A clearing of the throat. A clear sky.

A clearance of trees. A palm frond
floats above the milkfish. The souring

soup freshens with their bones. A free
morning again. A quenched life repeats

underwater. A swimming maw. A dam
that swallows the town, purifies

with its gills. As it is, as it is. A perpetual
wet market. Fresh produce. Sealed vinegar

and liquor jars swimming near the ceiling.
Our coins sink. Our bills fall apart. A merry town

with schools of fish in transit. And children
evacuated. A low-lying joy on all sides
submerged. Mountains hug their valleys.
Rain, pristine grief. The fishing pond

grows commercially. I wanted you here.
Without tide, walled giants, or marsh

mountains. As it was. Dried thickets,
shanties, hot soup stops, dog days, dance

floors, caged rooster coops we call family.
Nothing (even the sun) will rise in the morning.

Nothing will be built over us.

Rigel Portales