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You notice the difference in the air.
The humidity, a weight of the atmosphere.
Here is emptiness, mistaken
for a sensation of getting away.
A vacation from a vacation,
you grow homesick,
longing for longing for

Here is language, say
it is one you know. Hyphenate
when you can. Steal inquiries,
steel for confusion. Be content
in the discontent of the hyphenation.
These attempts at connections
could blur—all the lines, all your
original meanings.

Thy Light Our Beacon Be

A snake fell off a tree
onto school paper advisor
who fortunately usually
walks with an umbrella,
independently held
over his head. Unlike school
director, who surveyed high
school, PE teacher holding
umbrella over her head.

A snake wandered unfortunately
into the cafeteria, and the boys
had no choice but to kill it,
their rocks making them men, probably,
their rocks making dull glass
of the snake’s eyes, probably.

Three teachers, over the years,
have been accused of touching
sophomore boys. At assembly
the director jabbed sinewy
fingers at the accusers.
Are these faces
believable to you?

Teachers found a snake,
put it in a glass box,
its glass eyes fading.
As if it weren’t crowded enough
in the faculty room. Snakes living
with snakes, as the joke went.

The accountant, deep in debt,
shot himself. The registrar
had dengue. A senior and a junior
both wandered unfortunately
into treacherous waters.

They were celebrating
the junior’s birthday.

A sophomore and her family
were buried alive
when the volcano erupted
unfortunately coinciding
with a typhoon.

A boy and a girl
in my class,
after much drama,
had kids,
got married.

They teach at the high school.

Soleil David was born and raised in the Philippines, an active volcano in clear view from her backyard. Her poetry and prose have been published in Our Own Voice, The Philippine Daily Inquirer, and Pittsburgh Poetry Review. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley, and has taught English in South Korea. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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