Three Poems by Joseph O. Legaspi


Being myself is a path
I rarely follow.

What I lack
in ambition I compensate
with superb laziness. Barely motorized
like duck on water.

The flowering tree’s not my enemy.
How could I blame beauty
for how ugly I feel?

Nor blame the luminous night sky:
aurora, aurora, aurora.

I pick up the Bible as when I was young.
Love is forbidden fruit. Is the burning heart
in the cavity of Jesus.

Two Figures on a Boat

The Manunggul Jar, the oldest man-made artifact of the Philippines was found in Lipuun Cave, Palawan

Carved atop the clay lid of a burial jar.
The dead at the bow, arms folded over
his chest; the paddler, deliverer of souls,
at the stern. They wear the same mourning
air: the excavated sandsoil mouth of the boat.
From cave-gloom to sunlight to museum light,
solemn sojourners have not found heaven. This
second funeral: the remains remain Neolithic.
They ride the curvilinear waves of hematite.
Water distances and bridges the afterlife.

Unpunctuated Sonnet

You blanket tightly
Suffocate lightly

Feed me healthily
Devour stealthily

Kisses French
Petting clenched

Coarse caress
Rogue witness

Listen arbitrarily
Connect contrarily

Jar me chutney
Fluff you fiery

Bargain variety
Haggle society


by Joseph O. Legaspi



Joseph O. Legaspi is the author of the poetry collections Threshold and Imago, both from CavanKerry Press; and three chapbooks: Postcards (Ghost Bird Press), Aviary, Bestiary (Organic Weapon Arts), and Subways (Thrush Press). Recent works have appeared in POETRY, New England Review, World Literature Today, Beloit Poetry Journal, and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day. He co-founded Kundiman (, a non-profit organization serving generations of Asian American writers and readers.

Author photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths.

Appears In

Issue 2

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