Before I Have Time to Grieve

King Llanza

Coming here barefoot, my soles fully
imprint on the surface of moist soil, resonating
with the warmest sunset tones of Manila Bay.

Somewhere, a sponge is aching as it absorbs
everything like ears collecting the muffled sounds
that go past the tree-lined street.

A day ends. I continue to ache, too,
in splinters, in learning to unlatch
my embrace from a narra tree before the cutting.

This morning, at home, I made an offering to the sink drain—
crumbs of what grew in and what roamed the earth.
In the kitchenette, an answer fell on my nape.


King Llanza (he/they) is from the Philippines. He was a finalist for the 2021 Gaudy Boy Poetry Book Prize. His poems have appeared in Quarterly Literary Review SingaporeVoice & Verse Poetry MagazineSAND Journal, and Cordite Poetry Review, among others. King holds a MSc in Environmental Science and Ecosystem Management.

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