Ivy Alvarez

Ivy Alvarez


first she slices it
this way and that

so resilient
the flesh

and pulp underneath

loose skin watery

tart with seed
taste the puckering
current of calamansi

barely skinned by the knife
her face

rosy with belief

Filipino idiom meaning someone old trying to look young (literally, becoming an immature tomato).

Nagpúputók sa tao

scratched and hidden

plastic men     missing limbs
marble and playing cards
buried on a sandy hill
bloodless         unlike the man
who died riding downhill
and ran into a car
blood on his neck and arms
surrounded by a crowd
staring down

Filipino idiom meaning very compact (literally, the people burst).

Walâng dilihénsyá

the bird can plummet from hovering
dead drop to pluck the mouse
heart skittering

in the truck the men watch me
hail with too-loud laughter
the iron in their eyes

Filipino idiom meaning doesn’t know how to look for subsistence (literally, no diligence).

Ivy Alvarez is the author of The Everyday English Dictionary (Paekakariki Press), Disturbance (Seren), and Mortal. Her latest collection, Diaspora, Vol. L, is forthcoming from Paloma Press (2019). Born in the Philippines and raised in Australia, she lived almost a decade in Wales before moving to New Zealand in 2014. www.ivyalvarez.com