Angela Peñaredondo

Woman Eats Milkfish and Hibiscus

Long, silvered fatness
she picks out from two hundred bones.

A dream of culling
feathers from a bird wing.

This hunger for the galactic,
camouflaged within the leather
of tamarind trees.

This must be her last dinner
with the mga tokó lizards,

with the Visayan islets rusting
and breathing, where seawater
meets corrugated metal.

In the hut next door,
someone’s twitchy Sanyo purrs.

Across a garden of bitter
melon, the radio:

Move over
and give us some room.

Through humid foliage, ghosts
never lose their want

for good crooning no matter
the fission or diodes.

Brooding below the reptiles’ cockled jaws
—she’s become a hideaway girl.

And so with her they wait.
Their jellied feelers wriggling

to corners of a porch
like unfettered dress straps.

She sponge bathes white fish
in cane vinegar until it umbers,

salts some more before
the declaration of tongue.
When all the flesh is swallowed,

save the flowers for last,
draw back and widen the mouth
into an uncapped gourd.

A call for rain,
a call for water.

Copyright © Angela Peñaredondo.


Angela PenaredondoBorn in Iloilo City, Philippines, Angela Peñaredondo is a poet and artist living in Los Angeles, California. She is a graduate student of creative writing from the University of California, Riverside. She is a recipient of a University of California Institute for Research in the Arts Grant, Gluck Program of the Arts Fellowship, Tin House Scholarship, Squaw Valley Writers Fellowship, Naropa University’s Zora Neal Hurston Awards and Dzanc Books International Literary Program Scholarship. Her work has appeared or forthcoming in Southern Humanities Review, Tuesday; An Art Project Journal, South Dakota Review, Thrush Poetry Journal, Ghost Town and elsewhere. She is also a VONA/Voices of Our Nations Art fellow. Her chapbook, Maroon will be released this December 2015.

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke

Curator’s Notes: “Woman Eats Milkfish and Hibiscus” is a beautiful example of the care Peñaredondo places in crafting musicality within procurement of witnessing. Her alluring lingual prowess and deft image wielding, juxtapose precisely, and in tune with subject-driven intentionality. A terrific poet. Listen up.