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Over the Fields: Two Poems by Angela Peñaredondo

‘They love long hours of blackout. / They love this snuffed out match / of a little city. To the dust that separates // stained lace. To the poor / thrum of humidity.’

By Angela Peñaredondo

Women and Children for Sale


So young like silk heaven!
Light pulls my bamboo hard (aaahs and ooohs) for this sweet potato!
Forget her and the yellow shutters.
Bicycles swarm—
they’re coming


Broiled-fish-Asian landscape where mercenaries
first hoisted their grandiose operas,
tossed their nets out for
translucent shrimp!
Jet a marriage, carry her to bed,
calmly jaywalk
with confidence.


The domestic market:
he’s paying all before a thousand selected queens
saddled behind glass and stage. They’re wearing the tightest lace
& blue jeans.
Miss, this is something!
Obsession, a little job abroad.


They shake,
smoldering before gilded midnight.
They come, primed for EXPLOSION.
One applauds, frozen-faced
at Franz Bar in the Alamino. Her name Ka Rene.


Before we go any further,
let me tell you why I seek struggle:
a little noodle soup and
rice liquor,
the debris of a giant firecracker,

to plunge from a butterfly
of a boat on golden waters.


Good Mor-Ning,
North America!
I boil the classics, roast with plum sauce and the fiercest ginger.
I eat Gone with the Wind.
Scarlet exists
in the Bay of Tonkin.
It was difficult to get a visa.


Demon faith carries a girl
over fields, over Red River—
pagodas in full smoke.
Altars never wonder.
Flower balloons arrive from the village, interspersed in small
powder loads. Eyes, alive!


If you go out early, good-looking!
The damp winds bear the image,
half a world away
arranged before children were beaten. We’re in the tropics,
above sea level, at the latitude of Calcutta,
Indochina. Bombs, farms, annexations.
The northern border flouts. They suggest that I
don’t need a translator.


Take the train across Cambodia, very rich people!

Good food,
baskets on strings,
bikinis front row,
mandarin robes,
blue bodhisattvas,
gold, more children.

I ask a young man,
Care how they look?
Looks chaotic, but paved over,
they’re gone without a trace.


Go away crackling of fried beef,
butchering of two dogs for the pot
of love.
Been bone-hungry three days, another waxes and
I can hardly move.
Private resistance
of the bloodstream.


An inscription on a drum:

water buffalo
and pig.
Dragon inside
wherever I go.

Spirits Hate to be Alone

In burned sugarcane fields, the night’s ghost
of a saccada farmer in his brimless
hat. Swing of a stale blade
against moonlight. I watch the dead.

They love long hours of blackout.
They love this snuffed out match
of a little city. To the dust that separates

stained lace. To the poor
thrum of humidity.

From the grotto of Saint Lorenzo,
his palm an offering of birds
turns a sky from its yellow.

On a Milo can, I hear my own mouth.
Suction on a sugar-apple—
soft, white, meat,
black, tough, seeds,
between teeth like marbles.

Uncle, light a Flor de Isabela.
In the moment of rising smoke:

crest of a mottled white horse,
the lope on Gimbal’s rocky sands,

a girl recognizes the intrusive
pervading like mustard’s thick oil.

It’s hunger too.
The way of salt & rain
eating tin.