Angela Peñaredondo


I. Grandfather

A clenched foot is to a body object that strikes with fists around a wooden rod or slippery metal that pushed heavy hooves through a field’s shallow rainwater I grew around acres of mud and the seeds we planted under its weight dug

a fist equivalent to a machete         as rifle         as Beretta       as pistol
above a skull               it opens into a plume

from the world it hides all five fingers can fit into a womb or a mouth
a man seated tied with hemp rope a strung-up rooster eyes widened to the ivory

names & coordinates he confesses once I remove my fist the rain stops
                                                                                     heat rises to ten

II. Grandmother

I cannot recall how early I knew or how it was shown to me as a girl in the parlor of my mother’s living room the piano the mahogany floor smelling of a wet earth fingers elongate to each personality

legs crossed in a schoolyard my hands folded like gowns over my lap
                                                                                                     open open open

old woman slices okras tawny roots a fish laid out glassy and gutted I clutch meat
and foliage cutting with precision and speed                          I cannot keep up my own
fingers       I cannot help cutting into them                                           yes the fist
                            I can speak more       on slicing 

III. Granddaughter

It transforms into a comet when used right curls to meet the invisible rendering
them quiet they cannot fit into this mouth I always try but teeth get in the way

because I’ve been called small men have said my cavity is not equipped to protect
me from such things I’ve learned this first from my mother that night I dreamt of pummeling
                    a man to paint                                I brushed the ground
                                          with his own stain                                      with my fist          

                                                                          how to break his nose

I do but without breaking my fist first

then there’s a gift above all gifts                      this nautilus of skin
I can make love with it talk into my endless self         with or without grief          
   through this portable cave



her body a tiny lake dwells on the tabletop before plunging into the cool bowl her hands of sticky rice full she eats nothing else only craves (the taste of clouds) like dewy pearls mashes them to impermanence (before swallowing) the kitchen continues to smell of jarred rain stinking of silver ghosts


she powders her face to almost snow porcelana that’s what her mother calls it (the right kind of sheen) there’s no time to stay (herself) she has a prized date it is night in a vacant parking lot (the open trunk of a car) what she steals she smokes slow the taste of silence that comes as she presses a glass bottle (to the swell) of her lips tanduay dark with the gold seal oh that medicine of sugar cane


with some friends at a bar their tailbones in triangulation with a hard angle of light (in usual red) she sits underneath a print of Paula Rego’s painting snow white playing with her father’s trophies (in cruel) satin lush thighs and in between (the severed) animal head (antlers arched upward like yeses) smiling she does not forget to signal him the bartender with a nod (before the bill) another one for prosperity


at a window seat of a moving bus (or a train) the presence of a television (that cannot be seen) flashes suggesting pleasure of pale flesh naturally she turns (away) looks out the window an (indecipherable) map beams across her forehead as the vehicle accelerates her face (from clay to ash) becomes a sterling mise en abîme the map pans & pans


inside an expensive restaurant knives and soupspoons dipping in fatty omegas over a telephone call she discusses how men (also women) along with adoration will go (like this broth and oil) and sacrifice (a reunion of adventures) of a body’s departure (not made of or from crust or callous) and that you are a voice on the phone’s receiving end says that’s how you ended up in that hole i mean the woods i mean into a bright monster made of birds

Born in Iloilo City, Philippines, Angela Peñaredondo is a Pilipinx poet and artist. Peñaredondo is the author of the book, All Things Lose Thousands of Times (Inlandia Institute) which won the Hillary Gravendyk Poetry Prize and the chapbook, Maroon (Jamii Publications). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in AAWW’s The Margins, Four Way ReviewCream City ReviewSouthern Humanities ReviewDusie and elsewhere. She resides in southern California. .