written by Merlinda Carullo Bobis


— Merlinda Carullo Bobis

take me not
in mid-winter,
only to thaw the frost
of your old bones,
imagining how stallions rear
in the outback,
hooves raised to this august light,

kakaibang liwanag,
kasimputla't kasinglamig
ng hubad na peras.¹

but take me
on a humid afternoon
made for siesta,
when my knees almost ache
from daydreaming of mangoes,
and just right,

at higit sa lahat
mas matamis, makatas
kaysa sa unang halik ng mansanas.²


¹‘alien light,
as pale and cold
as a naked pear'

plucked from my tongue you have wrapped
in a plastic bag with the $3 mango
from woolworths

while i conjured an orchard
from back home—mangoes gold and not for sale, and

²‘above all,
sweeter, more succulent
than the first kiss of the apple.'

About the poet

Merlinda Carullo Bobis

Merlinda Carullo Bobis is a contemporary Philippine-Australian writer and academic. Born in Legaspi City, in the Philippines province of Albay, Merlinda Bobis attended Bicol University High School then completed her B.A. at Aquinas University in Legaspi City. She holds post-graduate degrees from the University of Santo Tomas and University of Wollongong, and now lives in Australia. Written in various genres in both Filipino and English, her work integrates elements of the traditional culture of the Philippines with modern immigrant experience. Also a dancer and visual artist, Bobis currently teaches at Wollongong University. Her play Rita's Lullaby was the winner of the 1998 Awgie for Best Radio Play and the international Prix Italia of the same year; in 2000 White Turtle won...

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