La poesía es como el pan, de todos
Roque Dalton

Their bones were thicker and stronger than ours
Arlene Biala

The women gather salt in secret caves, in shallow pools of ocean. The men blast the shoreline and barricade the caves. They force-feed refined white sugar to the soil. What fruit will grow there,

What Satsuma mandarins for Santo Niño, for my father’s sepia portrait and Our Lady of Grace, what altar’s dinuguan and steaming brown rice,

What typhoon relief sacks of GMO rice rotting for vermin, cockroach crony sycophants to sate themselves,

What banana-throwing douche-bag bros, what sports stadium military- industrial complex makes me sing God bless America,

What mofongo de camarones al ajillo y café con leche, please, what Yankees game’s on the TV at Malecon,

What oxtails and bay leaves have been stewing all day, what flesh melting into peanut sauce and achiote. What marrow bones to save for my father,

What bone broth elixir in Mason jars, what Whole Foods 100% raw organic coconut water, what juice cleanse won’t let me not think you’re an asshole, 

What bag of liquid nutrition, pumped intervally through a gastric tube. Don’t assume it fulfills the dying need,

What last meal on earth if not Jacques Pépin’s home-baked bread, with just a little unsalted butter,

What white bread we have, what spamsilog. We have the key to the can of corned beef, maraming salamat, po, Amerikano!

What nutritional value in Guantanamo rectal force-feeding, men penetrating men nonconsensually, for ‘‘national security,’’

What permanent damage done to one’s internal organs, what softened bones and ruptured vessels. Don’t assume anyone’s lost any sleep over this,

What cost-prohibitive lipid-lowering pharmaceuticals, what BMI plan. What insulin-dependent adult-onset diabetes. Ischemia and embolus are the new norm.

We are dying for a sweet sip of water, for bread to dissolve on the tongue.