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Engkantos are invisible to the sober, but there’s truth
in wine. When grandfather died, his dog vanished.
It persistently reappears just to howl by the gate.

My childhood best friend lives in our attic closet.
Nightly, from the inside, he halfway opens the cabinet
to throw the other end of a tin can telephone.

Anitos shared a home with us. After a white god,
we disowned and banished them into folktales.
What is disregarded fades. To spite, the faded stays.

A dead uncle shares my birthday. He tastes blood
from imaginary wounds in his mouth.
His black and white photos are my dead ringer.

We never cross the dotted pebbles by the garden;
beyond the line are duendes. Despite garlic,
the kitchen smells like a forest equinox in spring.

At eight, I stopped playing with the neighbor’s kids.
Same year. First wine. 2hrs non-stop laughing.
I was bantering with cold, humid air, they said.

We leave empty dining chairs for the family multo.
Since grandmother died, the gate remains undisturbed.
On his deathbed, my uncle promised to return.

After I moved out, our housekeeper would hear knocks
from the attic, followed by a voice calling out my name.
A closet creaking. A tin can rolling on the floor.



Mark Dimaisip is a poet from Manila. His work has been published in A Literation Magazine, Human Parts, The Brasilia Review, and elsewhere. He has performed for stages like The Cultural Center of the Philippines, Muzium Nelayan Tanjung Balau, and Aliwal Arts Center in Singapore. His website is https://linktr.ee/markdimaisip.
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