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When Grandmother's Gone

Jeric Olay

Two poems from the Philippines based poet.

When grandmother's gone

Why is it that the sunbird has stopped

building her nest

under the eaves of grandma’s

decades-old abode?

I remember her room was

once a bethel of assorted scents:

the pungent, Marian

smell of dried Rosal from her

altar and the smell of her katinko

At night, there’s a

tumultuous silence:

no more “o clement,

o loving, o sweet Virgin Mary”

and no more gibberish

recital of the litany.

When grandma’s gone, it

seems her spell and her

grace have traveled with her.

And in the garden, her

moth orchid has ceased

to flower.

Coincakes by Sundeep Kumar

The last barrio in the Philippines

In this village, the people believe it’s

unholy to work at night, and on Sundays,

they worship the smoke that rises from

the coconut kiln. Yes, they worship hard

work until their palms’ skin is as sticky

as unripe cardaba’s sap.

In this village, people consume meat

more luscious than pork. They harvest

frogs from the farthest creek. Frog’s

meat is a potent aphrodisiac.

Ask the old men.

Here, the people have nothing to inherit

except for some families who have been

left with several sigbins. Life is different in

this village. No revolution. No tanks. And

they haven’t heard of Norse or Greek

gods, and they haven’t stepped on the fossilized

shits of the country’s invaders.

Wayward by Aimen Tirmizi


Born in Southern Leyte, a small province in the Philippines, Jeric Olay writes opinion essays and poems. Some of his essays have been published in major newspapers in his country. His poems have appeared in TLDTD, a Philippine biannual journal, and are forthcoming in Mekong Review and The Window Anthology.

About the featured artists:

Sundeep Kumar is a visual artist and an art teacher from Karachi, Pakistan. He studied Bachelor’s in Fine Arts with painting as specialisation at Centre of Excellence in Art & Design, MUET, Jamshoro. His work has been part of over twenty-five exhibitions including a solo and a few charity exhibitions. He co-founded Atelier School of Art and Design in Karachi where he teaches art to different age groups since 2018. Prior to that, he taught art at a different institute for nearly three years.

Aimen Tirmizi is a visual artist based in Lahore, Pakistan. She received her Bachelors in Fine Arts from Kinnaird College, majoring in miniature painting. She has exhibited in several group shows and was part of an art mentoring programme sponsored by Ercelawn Art Fund at Studio RM, and an artist residency at Tasweerghar. Her work is also in the permanent collection of the Ambiance Hotels, Lahore.


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