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from the November 2019 issue



An unwelcome visitor becomes a coveted houseguest in this poem by Voltaire Oyzon.

Voltaire Oyzon reads "Water."

Rain, this most ungracious guest,
enters your house
without bothering to knock

very rude
he’s all over the place
messes up the house
soaks the foot rags wets chairs winnowing basket grater firewood sleeping mat
the covers even the pillows
the wedding picture, my wife’s and mine . . .

Three or four days
he hangs out in our house.

I tell myself, don’t begrudge your welcome,
but how irksome his presence—
the baby’s clothes
never dry always
dripping with his tears.

Well, so now I say, I’m mad at you,
Please leave, will you?

But once you’re gone, things
go bad for us, everything that’s yours you take with you
all our wells dry up,
our faucets stop flowing,
the plants go thirsty

we have to cajole you to return
with what charms we know, prayers
offerings, begging you please come back.
But please, please, if you do
don’t bring everyone with you—

the rice we have,
the viand,
the room to keep you in
are all just enough for today.

“Lambunaw” © Voltaire Oyzon. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2019 by Merlie M. Alunan. All rights reserved.


Malabad nga bisita inin lambunaw,
labi na kun nasulod ha balay
ug di man la natuktok anay.

kay nga tanan inuukupahan,
linalabtan, hinuhulos—
an paspasan, mga lingkuran, an nigo, kaguran,
an sungo, biso, an banig, an taklap, an ulunan,
an litrato namon nga duha nga mag-asawa...

Tagtulo, upat pa gud ka adlaw
kun mag-inukoy ha amon balay.

Diri gad ako namumuyboy.
Nauurit la ako
kay inin mga panapton
hinin akon pulahay
permi la namamaglinuha.

Nasisina ako ha imo yana.
Karuyag ko ikaw nga lumagbaw.

Pero, masumo ka kun nalayas ka
kay tanan imo dinadara—
natitingkan an amon atabay;
waray lanay ha amon gripo
ngan pinan-uuhaw iton mga tanaman

Dara hini, liliuton ka na liwat namon.
Magmamayaw. Magpapapangadi.
Maghahalad. Papabalikon ka.
Pero, alayon gad ayaw pagdara
hin damo ha iyo.

Kay iton amon bugas,
iton amon sura,
iton imo bubutangan
sakto gad la para yana.

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