So it’s a cliche, so what:

I am split.
Not down the middle, across
the center. Rent through the liver,
sawed through the ribs.

My head is full of halogen, mac and cheese,
the fear of the dollar. Vinyl siding,
tater tots and turnpikes, the fricative language,
speaking an invader’s sibilants, seeping
through my teeth but my toes

are deep in the mud. My gut
is glutted with ginisang munggo, with nilagang manok,
busog na with bibingka and bitter kapeng barako.
The skin of my legs warm as the sun, brown as
the glaze on a leche flan, and I cannot take a step,

I cannot move my feet,
I refuse.

I see the trees spark and dull,
the air chill, my breath fume. Oh,
I am cold.

If I could only fold myself low
hear the groan of a tricycle muffler,
the drone of an evening prayer. If only in bending
I wouldn’t snap in two.

You are a bridge, they said, and tried to walk across me.
But a bridge doesn’t live on the west bank
or the east. And it may rain on one road bed
while the other begins to freeze.

So I am split, so what:
I lay two claims.
So I am afraid to choose: I admit.
Would you trade snowflakes for the flood?
And would you pull your body from itself,
could you give in and cleave?


© 2015 Nicasio Andres Reed