Psyche Considers an Archipelago

Aimee Nezhukumatathil

          The Philippines

I touched down on the islands in darkness,

the way you first alighted at my door

a decade ago. We were more or less

already broken when my plane arrived,

but my voice could still send you back

to me if I begged enough. And now —

I’ve returned with another man, one foot

already in some other gold and glittered life.

Each fork and knife of coral set before me

at this banquet of dried fish and seaweed

help plump the child already swimming

inside of me. How could I ever consider him

and all his fins another trial? That’s how I knew

there was end to all these punishments:

someone else wrote us a different ending.

You too will find a new love. There will be no

disappearing. And for once, no need for dipped

and deadly arrows in your quiver.

                     Who could have ever imagined

years later you’d dare select a new girl

from this very same cluster of islands?

At your wedding, will she know I was first,

that I was baptized clinging to your waist

underwater? Will she wear sampaugita in her hair?

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