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I slid open the capiz-paned windows
and howled as if I was answering
the far-off cry of a demented dog.
My frustrated father said
I would be conjuring the aswang.

All night I remained awake on the hard floor,
the woven mat etched lattice on my back.
At the corner, between the hanged clothes,
there was a man standing, with moon-translucent face.
Outside, empty bottles whistled and bamboos creaked
but the nocturnal bugs were silent.

The next morning Father asked me
to fetch some water from the clay jar.
Through its opening, I noticed someone's head rising—
with glutinous seaweed hair.
I quivered as ice pick-tip nails scraped
the clammy earthenware.

* aswang—a vampire-like ghoul in Philippine folklore



Romalyn Ante has been a member of Writing West Midlands Room 204. Her poems appeared in a variety of magazines such as Cannon's Mouth, Southlight, and Ink, Sweat, & Tears, amongst others. She has also prize-winning poems in The Yellow Book (2015). Her first novel, Chasing Deimos, was shortlisted for The Asian Writer Chick-Lit Competition in 2014.
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