Summer and sunset
in a country without seasons
and I want to be a machine
that works all year. I mourn December,
what would have been winter,
blur and thrash of my body you nearly
threw out of the car. My screams sharp and
hollow, throat serrating on an empty threat.
I swallowed the spit of paranoia,
a bitter pill singeing the stomach.
It got my mind: what I knew to be true
blighted by a fever of impressions,
the incongruence of fear
and what bodies displace it.
How cruel that you stayed
when I foresaw otherwise.
Love a heat turned up too slow
for the violence I surmised.
Now, I’ve forgotten how snow fell
in the country of my birth,
the urgency of autumn, the ache
of my bones in simulated warmth.
Here, the heat is at its peak,
and love is languid. The air docile
to what water does to it,
something like tenderness
to the ruthlessness of rain
purging the streets, the grease
of the city rainbowing
at our feet. I want that grace,
compact myself all the colors
that I am or know I can be.
Someday I’ll forget this summer
in Manila, sweat beading
our foreheads glorious when the AC
cut out in the car, the three hours it took
to pass through one city, the stop-and-go
of your foot on the gas that seemed
seamless to me in the passenger seat.
Your discipline to make this work
and all my tricks to undo it, our staccato
entrance into summer’s long yawn,
the blue chasing the rearview
Krysta Lee Frost is a mixed race Filipino American poet who halves her life between the Philippines and the United States. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming inThe Margins,Berkeley Poetry Review,Entropy, wildness, and elsewhere. She is currently pursuing an MA in Creative Writing at the University of the Philippines Diliman.