Wings flare. Hawk soars
as if the sky is Ifugao red
and her wrists shake
with seven silver bracelets, each
dangling a stone etched with
memories formed as feathers,
teardrops, arrowheads. The sound
of her grandmother crushing
gabi leaves for a spell
fills the room. The window persists
with its lack of your face
supplanting the pumice stones
during the monsoon season
in Pampanga. After tasting
salt through her tears
why did you open your pores
to the temptress' curved copper
tongue? Does the witch paint
heavy verbs on your thighs? Boulders
like "ravage," "pillage," "ransack"
or "despoiled"? Peel off their signs
for sweetness: her damp eyes walking
to the front mahogany door
to answer your wing beats
discerned through the breeze.
To arrive home is to release your
armor, dropping it on ancient terrazzo.
—Nick Carbo and Eileen Tabios
First published in Saints of Hysteria: A Half Century of Collaborative Poetry (Eds. Denise Duhamel, Maureen Seaton, and David Trinidad, Brooklyn, Soft Skull Press, 2007) and forthcoming in THE LIGHT SANG AS IT LEFT YOUR EYES (Marsh Hawk Press, Fall 2007).