This place where wily warehousemen and clerks
traded pots and pans for ermine and marten
This place—Voilà un diamant du Canada—
quartz crystals exhibited back home
This place—the land God gave Cain—
rocky shores now slowly sinking into the sea
This invented America, this illusory kingdom
This place took her.
Her bones lie in hard ground in Vancouver
with kababayan whose markers define her boundaries.
She bought this piece of property.
Truly Canadian now: Daughter of the Soil.
Something made more out of mere discovery.
Something made attractive so as to justify
that transpacific adventure to conquer new territory
where she danced, loved, founded a community.
Life continuum. No ubi sunt, no exiled lament, no loss, no ruin
transforming that displaced Visayan girl who said—
They’re all dead there now.
I have nothing to return to. —-
as we sat over tea and muffins at her kitchen table.
Despite purple skies and golden sand, mother,
you’re not here in Onay Beach in your natal Samar.
The water gasps in and out like the heartbroken woman
whose hanged body gave this name—diin ba ang may nag-onay—
is this where she destroyed herself?
You rejected her.
Empty seashells prick my feet.
At the edge, in the open ending, a mollusk had built
an equiangular spiral, gnomonic, marvellous,
growth curves elegantly expanded shaped by its lifespan,
not a circular spiral for that would have suffocated it
like rope around one’s neck.
- 100: BROWNFACESUBMIT NOW with W S Dunn 99: SINGAPORECOMING SOON with A Pang and J Ip 97 & 98: PROPAGANDACOMING SOON with M Breeze and S Groth 96: NO THEME IXwith M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHwith M Takolander 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRICAN DIASPORAwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones