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Duwende Sonnet / Applying for an O1-B Visa

If I list the word enchantment under occupation, I imply that it’s never been felt

on these islands. But people have always been running amok across all

oceans, returning home late at night with monstrous appetites, welts

embroidering their backs. Young girls crumble the chambers and halls

of termite mounds with their bare hands in the midnight heat.

Dear consul, madness isn’t new. To each populace its own fever dreams

whose names have always been changing: the adjective passionate will roam streets

at odd hours, looking for a bleating body to fuck. Verbs like to cook will mean

to rig regulations. Even soy sauce, its dark salt seeping from ferment

in jars, will become metaphor for mental illness. In this country I’ll trade wool

for crisp banana silk shirts, hats hollowed out from summer gourds. I’ve spent

tenure in Iberia teaching doctors to dance, gifted cinema to Patagonian fools.

I can give your people other things: lostness, cockfights, poetics. Perhaps, shame

and then its refusal, like wearing this impish body like the new letter in my name.


KABEL MISHKA LIGOT was born and raised in and around Metro Manila in the Philippines. He holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his work has been published or is forthcoming in Waxwing, The Margins, RHINO, and others. A recipient of the Don Belton Scholarship at the Indiana University Writers’ Conference and a Tin House Summer Workshop alumnus, Mishka currently lives in the Midwest, where he works at a library.


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