White Bodies Splayed on White Sand


There is no mapping out a space
definable only by the pigment

of its occupants. In these shores,
the economy of skin and hair

and eyes outweighs the mandate of coin.
An island local jokingly quips:

the border that outlines General Luna
from the rest of Siargao is determined

by the sudden, sporadic presence
of white bodies splayed on white sand.

A German tourist at a local nightclub
takes out his phone to film six

brown bodies across him, cheeks
blushing pink, teeth polished

and gleaming like mothers-of-pearl;
an ornate display of what attempts

to be the finest catch in an island
best known for its clam and fish?

their scales silky, slippery; guts strong
like shells carrying saltwater; mouths full

and seething with a language
so broken it is almost beautiful.