Two poems by Ivy Alvarez

GUHIT NG PALAD

 

Close to when everything began, a Chinese palmist read my fortune. Something drew me to her stand at the night market, the Hong Kong neon glow pushing back the stars. She took both my hands in her own and spoke, the man next to her an interpreter for us. She pressed the mounts, traced the folds, bent my fingers. Scratched my bracelet lines, slid fingers along the back and nails of mine. Under heaven’s wheel, I could feel the future laid out before me (though I immediately discounted the babies). There in another country, a traveller for a little while, an adventurer still uncowed, eager to know the world, her own terms.

 

Filipino idiom meaning fate; destiny (literally, line of palm)

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GASGÁS ANG BULSÁ

 

Slip your hand in the slit. It barely fits: a set of keys, a phone, a lipstick, a fist. No money here. No room for it. I dream of capacity, capaciousness, rapaciousness, infinity, make room for me and my paraphernalia, regalia, the size of Australia in my dresses and jeans. My skirts can take it. Hide my secrets from the hobble-de-hoy. Slap you away. Not today, mister patriarch. Not today.

 

Filipino idiom meaning spent heavily (literally, pocket is bruised)

About the contributor

Ivy Alvarez
Ivy Alvarez’s poetry collections include Diaspora, Vol. L (Paloma Press 2019), The Everyday English Dictionary (Paekakariki Press 2016), Disturbance (Seren Books 2013) and Mortal (Red Morning Press 2006). Born in the Philippines and raised in Australia, she lived in Wales for almost a decade before arriving in New Zealand in 2014. https://www.ivyalvarez.com/

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