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When I Sing to Myself, Who Listens?

Ina Cariño

no good people in my house

want to live we schedule

little quakes on Sundays

on the steps broken glass

after mass I prefer

to stay here pero

I never asked for this

a song strummed I listen:

such beauty music soft

demure papa's harana

mama—paraluman his muse

she croons of better yesterdays

floor giving way to earth


I'm of earth so sick so sick I lap soap

I wash my face imagine soil

pushing up as maya flinches flit in the garden

mornings I wash salt

from my body ibon! ibon! perched in magnolia

(stay with me) (is that wrong?) on good days I'm nothing— like mama tremors start

nobody stays which is wrong

no good person in my house

INA CARIÑO was born in Baguio City in the Philippines. Her work appears in Fugue, Tupelo Quarterly, Nat. Brut, VIDA Review, and December Magazine, among other journals. She holds an MFA in creative writing from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. Art by Abigail Hodges


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