Nocturne at the Seat of this Millennium

Oliver de la Paz

                 In Davao I used to do it personally. Just to show to the guys [police officers]

                   that if I can do it, why can’t you.

                        —Rodrigo Dutarte

Even if he is wingless — a lesser god,

a look or a flash of anger, a wrong touch

as he passes — perhaps leaning out

to bump a shoulder to summon an eruption,

so that the monster rises because he loves it,

that shadow in the alley, that bad confession,

even though he remembers how easy it is

to cross his thumb under the handle of his knife

and look at the dulling eye the way

the dull-whiskered carp pressed its lips

to the air as the blade slit from the anus

to the edge of the jaw — so easy to slice

the fish, its tail circling slightly, quaking

with awareness and the last look, even that look

he has grown to know, that look beyond the stars

which have long ceased to be, even then

it is never enough to fill the moment because

there are always more moments and so many

stars and the hard, black sea that says nothing

but yes, even that sea has long lost its place.


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