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. www.kabelmishka.com