Sunday, May 21, 2017


After Alex Tizon’s article "My Family’s Slave" as regards Eudocia Tomas Pulido 
(The Atlantic, June 2017)    

The Horror Neighborhood

Don’t expect vampires or werewolves,
Serials killers or mass murderers.
There are no sucking sounds, no
Moans and screams. Nor knives
Like tongues to skins.
Nor blood.

The sounds of terror come
From the mother’s tongue, the way
It tightens like a straitjacket.
“Grandfather” is the sonic register for “whip”—
And each time the three heavily spondaic
Syllables reverberate, one doesn’t feel like
A grandchild. One learns “brother” and “sister”
As antonyms to love and care.
The mind is tortured 24/7
With hunger, uncertainty, spectres of home.
Envy is the monthly pay not subjected to tax,
Sloth the welcome company when no one
Else is around. Of course when the neighbors
Come for dinner, they’ll ask rhetorical
Questions, because they, too, have their own
Basements and secret doorways no one else
Knows. They come with their best attires,
Clothing that doesn’t hide bruises.
The one who is horrified serves
Dinner, and she wears her
Loveliest smile.

Jonel Abellanosa resides in Cebu City, the Philippines.  His poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including The Filipino American Artist Directory, Marsh Hawk Review, Anglican Theological Review, Rattle, Poetry Kanto, Spirit Fire Review, Pedestal Magazine, The McNeese Review, GNU Journal and Dark Matter Literary Journal.  He has two chapbooks, “Pictures of the Floating World” (Kind of a Hurricane Press) and “The Freeflowing All” (Black Poppy Review).  He is a Pushcart Prize nominee.

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