A bunch of breasts from either arm, and that lone question—do you friend, even now, know what it is all about? —Wole Soyinka, from “Civilian and Soldier”

The sun slips between panels of fichus. Dripping. She travels only at night. Beds
            in ditches for too many

hot nights. Her body arrives in the ghoulish thicket    ?like so many girls do with a bomb
            strapped between both breasts.


The Velcro harness starts as an itchy burn then turns into second skin. Black tape travels
            like zebra stripes. Tar.

Her thumping chest—an only blanket.


A rigorous comb and cut with unsharpened shears. See how girls shape up real well,
            ready to scatter the ground any time.

Litter across the jungle, turn a city to shambles. Shoulder, breast, elbow, lip no longer
            shackled. They tie their buns back
            in bundles and bundles of black.

Their mothers have turned into mangroves. No, a dream and an ochre river. The men
            form into a line under shadows of strangler figs.


The wild bird’s plucked and severed with ease. Plumes and pink meat in her hands.
            Gummed to dips of fingers.

Teeth like sun, like the scaled peel of snake fruit. But when she’s strapped, how
            she can slither through any damn hole,
            any dark line of in-between.

For country, she says, I shall be severed. Spread with voracity, then refined to seeds and meat.
            This land. All hunger, girls.


The manioc and mud and rust mud of a river. What a mud muddy soldier she’s become.
            Breasts fastened mounds underneath fatigues

and sweat. A topaz sari disposed of on that river’s shore. It’s lined in reeds needling
            moisture. Mosquitos pepper running water.


The buzz, buzz and zip. Inevitable sting of cyanide, then a smooth leg the hue of dunes
            and cherry bark. An ornament, a trophy,            
            all alone lying there—full gleam.

Related: More ‘Viva Macondo’ entries

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Angela Peñaredondo

Angela Peñaredondo is a queer Pilipinx writer-artist-educator. Angela is author of the chapbook Maroon (Jamii Publications) and All Things Lose Thousands of Times (Inlandia Institute, winner of...