Kunar, Afghanistan 2012
with every flutter of her eyelids, the origami poppies
taped on the walls, move.
each breath a baptism, shifting from eden to eden –
her white skin, her brown skin, the white cloth
coming to wrap around her head, coming to bind
arms around her body –
a knife in her hand as she slits a pod, the overgrown
womb dripping white tears, red tears, the crust
that she scrapes off with metal –
walls she scrapes off white, revealing pink
welts from the dusty underside of paint –
men strewn around her, their smoke strangling her
like rope whose pressure softens the flowers reflected
upon her eyes, every petal ablaze, like a red hijab
uprooted from her black hair, a secret garden
broken in, coming all down to prey – to pray.
Mariel Alonzo is an emerging poet from Davao, Philippines. Her poems have graced several journals in six countries. Recently, she was awarded an Honorable Mention by Tarfia Faizullah in the 2015 Adroit Poetry Prize and is currently a blogger intern for Voices of Youth – UNICEF.
She is also developing a literary journal, SAWSAW (www.sawsawjournal.blogspot.com), which will be launched in 2016.