Ivy Alvarez


for B

As a human being of sound mind (my captain’s wheel) steering a body – this vessel showing almost fifty trips around the sun – I hereby consign my emotions to the sea and will reclaim them as one plucks jetsam from the waters, when necessary. For heartache is a corollary of life and love. None shall escape it, both in the having, and its lack. We are here on this earth to experience every minute, not avoid it. The horizon might seem an impossible mirage, yet exists to merge, smudge, the sky, the sea. Let us be glad of it. Let us rejoice. I accept the risk, you stowaway, I know what you bring: my rack, my ruin, another beginning, come to unhusk this new self, unabraded, take umbrage, raw as any pink thing found in salty water, unshelled, drowned, and defenceless. I tire of being safe, anchored, mapped. I’ll take us to the ungovernable, the storm’s edge at sunset, close to this ship’s foundering, near to splintering apart, count the lives lost, shudder, disembark, sail on.

*Filipino idiom meaning a gentleman’s agreement that should be fulfilled (literally, a gentleman’s conversation)

IVY ALVAREZ is the author of verse novel Disturbance (Wales: Seren, 2013). As a MacDowell Colony Fellow, a Hawthornden Fellow, and a five-time Pushcart Prize nominee for poetry and once for fiction, both Literature Wales and the Australia Council for the Arts awarded her grants towards the writing of Disturbance. Widely-published and anthologised, her poetry also appears on a mobile app The Disappearing, in Takahē, The Age / Sydney Morning Herald, and Best Australian Poems (2009, 2013), with several poems translated into Russian, Spanish, Japanese and Korean. Her poetry collections include Mortal, Hollywood Starlet, and The Everyday English Dictionary. Her latest, Diaspora: Volume L, is available from Paloma Press.

Author’s note: “‘Úsapang máginoó’. Chosen for its adventurous spirit.”
Other works
What remains

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