Volume 34, Number 1



Her bicycle with a sidecar—the woman’s
makeshift home—hurled meters from the pavement
where she built a life with her daughter.
Dirt-caked place now holds contemplation.

Her sidecar kept utensils, pots and pans,
plastic plates, spoons and forks. Her long face
doesn’t show despair. She sold flowers and plants
before the storm uprooted her life, her clay
and plastic pots arranged beside her bicycle
and sidecar. Her flowers and plants now garbage
to be swept from the street, broken pots
like shards hard to recall.


The sky’s spiraling eye shows I’ve been blessed.
I might never use worry’s implements
just taking up spaces in plastic boxes
gathering dust. Plastic, tin and metal kept
for future use, boxes on top of each other
blocking glass panes, the other room darkened
with a sagging feeling. I imagine the ocean bottom.

This is my chance to lighten, let more light
into my inner room. I wish air to find me, here.
I don’t need my potted plants outside, I realize.
I’ll keep two pots of orchids to continue practicing
stillness. I don’t need the assemblable plastic table
that held my plastic pots of Gynura procumbens,
their leaves touted to lower blood sugar.

Cleaning the house, making it less weighty,
I found brand new plastic plates, brand new
Tupperware, unused spoons and forks,
foldable bed foam. I don’t need the useless.
I have to rebuild my life with nothing more.

—Jonel Abellanosa