Crispin Rodrigues is a poet and essayist. His first collection of poetry, Pantomime,
was published by Math Paper Press in 2018. His poems, short stories and creative
non-fiction has been featured in Kepulauan (2014), A Luxury We Must Afford (2016)
and Eunoia Review, among others. He is currently working on his second collection
of poetry, slated for publication in 2019.
Rest here pilgrim crow
for in the beyond lies
the infinite ocean for you to drink.
The starlings have seen
everything, yet they squabble
over the magnitude of the ocean.
None of them have drunk
from it, but having heard the wind
call it an ocean, they believe it.
Rest now pilgrim crow,
the ocean tastes like home
for the sky tastes the ocean everyday.
The ocean seeps its foam
into the sand, where there
is life among the sandwash.
The crabs know only the ocean,
and can call it a place, but they
already have homes in their shells.
The fish know the ocean
and land. Look at the twinkle
in their eyes as they lay on the beach.
The crow wishes it had a twinkle
in its eyes. The sky has only rain,
which is an ocean, but only a drop.
The crow finally lands and
takes a sip of the ocean,
and spits out its briny goodness.
From now on it speaks only
in its familiar cry, its tongue shrivelled
to a word, and only a word.
It takes to the trees, where
it must roost, for it must pass on
the word of the ocean.
Rest now pilgrim crow
for the burden of the ocean is heavy,
and the taste still lingers.
You looked through old photos of me in singlet
and diapers and foretold I would become me,
pointing to the powder on the floor
that I use to disguise my crusty feet with lavender.
Like a baby's bottom. I fill the grout with remnants.
Nobody needs to know that my crusty feet
are babylike, like how I still need a bolster
to cuddle. My photos are yellowing from
overexposure. You should put some of these
up. She points to the one with my ass facing
the camera, and my tiny dick wagging in innocence.
Let the see how you've changed, what you've
become. But I haven't changed. I still love lavender
when I find the right size. I push food I cannot eat
to my lover's plate. I still wake up by posturing my ass
towards the sky first. I am seeing these photos
as a stranger too — the skull proportionately
smaller, the dimples on the ass less adorable,
the talcum only for crusty feet. If anything,
I am sleeping less now. Perhaps I need to become sleep.
Among the white eggs
was a brown one, more elliptical
than the rest.
Touching its exterior,
its brown warmth blooming
like a bondsman's grasp,
as though setting it down
would ensure its demise.
Against the sun
it pulsated through the verge
of shell, the wet mass of shivering
feathers coiled up in
a crunched formation,
ready to spring forth.
Beside it, the white eggs
lay still, opaque in the milky
coldness of the sun.
The chick stretches its half-formed
wings, mottled in brown spots.
It must fly now, for the sake
of its phantom siblings.
I have become salt
and the salt shakers laugh
at my predicament —
how brittle my bones
have become, this hour
when I gather my particles
and dissolve myself
in a puddle, only to resurface
The dietitian advises
against salt. She is
and her days of coating
are over. Her father
is on meds for high blood
pressure she fears is hers too.
But even in drought
salt gathers water to itself
and there is something
unquenchable about this thirst
of becoming something else,
like salt, like seasoning,
like mineral, like love, like sea.
How sweet must the ocean
taste before it has become sand?
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