A Manananggal Replies to a Child [excerpt]
Marble floor oiled by moonlight.
The town’s Storyteller gathered you
around a kandila every night –
he claimed I crashed onto his roof –
pierced it with my sword-sharp tongue
that descended to a somnolent abdomen.
He pulled out an invisible machete,
candlelight pulsing on his raised wrist.
He swung, and bragged how it cut me –
my chopped tongue flicking,
a headless snake that whips
my scabbed face…
‘A Manananggal Replies to a Child’ is included in Romalyn Ante’s collection Antiemetic for Homesickness, published by Chatto & Windus in July 2020.
Romalyn Ante grew up in the Philippines and moved to the UK when she was 16 years old. She is a winner of the Poetry London Clore Prize, joint-winner of the Manchester Writing Competition and the Creative Future Literary Award. She is a Jerwood/Arvon mentee and most recently, selected for the Poetry Schools’ Primers. Her debut pamphlet, Rice & Rain, won the Saboteur Award for Best Poetry Pamphlet. and her first collection, Antiemetic for Homesickness, is published in 2020 by Chatto & Windus.