King Llanza: two poems

Isla Pandan in Trinkets

: sequins at the tips of waves
; sand this memory into halves of shells
; horseshoe crab looming in the shallow
; small crabs and their burrows
; the tide favors what is swept
; repeat no defeat
; farewell, an interlude
; Eros’ voice: birdcalls
; mensuration, or, counting steps to meet you
; your place of origin haunts you, asleep in cottages
; seagrass: zebra stripes in liquid
; purple heron in flamingo stance
; circle the island in less than an hour
; the insistent smell of brine is a state of mind
; if to be under the sun all day, learn to be half-gone
; egrets flying off to the sunset
; campfire glow secured in these eyes
; language will fail you here until you leave
; banana bread and forgiveness
; leave the cages and mouse traps
; see no end to reliving a commune with nature
; heart, a marker between return and return.

Coral Chorale

No fish would live on dead reefs
but we know the sounds of living coral.
With a hydrophone, the underwater is audible.
The crackles of antennae and legs of shrimps
harmonizing with the sweeping sounds of fishes
swimming, add to it the flare of juveniles
finding their way back home.

We played these sounds on repeat for six weeks
at a site of dead corals like a gospel chorus.
The fish came back; the dead just kept singing.

King Llanza is a queer writer from the Philippines. His poems appear or are forthcoming in Voice & Verse Poetry Magazine, SAND: Berlin’s English Literary Journal, and Cordite Poetry Review, among others. He is about to graduate with a MSc degree in Environmental Science and Ecosystem Management.