a fatal error has occurred

He is listening to him explain which of his feelings he has feelings about. Lines hiss into the ether or converge like eyebrows. Over them, a net through which one can slip. Below, city lights tell them what they should be doing

in a parked car. He lets at some point his hand unquiver his shoulder; he wants only to tell what he had for dinner. His mouth the surest sign. The smog in this darkness hangs like evil thoughts, heavy and invisible. It reclines on roofs like a woman

crowning. The singer on the radio has no opinions of her own, asks them what they need. This, already. And how much more. Allow me into the question and see what I can do with it, he says. Not aloud, as always. He continues to make small sounds, now agreement, now doubt, now remorse. Remorse

in his case as the admission that the world will sift through the dregs to find something it can hand back. From which come the world. Here is where the animal waddles out of the murky pool and nips at his fingers, grandly offered and unwise. His bill is vicious; his webbed feet, relentless. He forgets

the safeword and thus commits fully his feathers. This is where the night must assent. The minutes as if through a sieve. This is how to annotate the curve of his clavicle. This is what the night does not inflame. Which stakes and whose. How long can they lie

in wait. What he has to say, he parcels out in gestures. Rely on implications: only almost mean. He has admitted enough. Start the engine and allow the city to disregard the noise, please. Drive past any house in which an insomniac is glued to the TV station as it plays the national anthem. Every bit as embroiled as.


Mark Anthony Cayanan was raised in Angeles City, Philippines. He is working toward an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of the poetry book Narcissus (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2011).