Alyza Taguilaso


When I think of being forgotten, I think of you:
bright bearer of saintly serpents. How does it feel

to have one’s body wrenched from shining
with your twelve brothers, sisters, lover—

by the mere makings of human memory? Legend speaks
of how you were cast into the night sky for looking

at the plaintive motions of a snake. The one who dared reclaim its lover
from the fields of the dead, offering the sweetest of herbs

and causing its deadened mate to slither again
into life, thin tongue hissing the secrets to life eternal.

Secrets—your ears so easily captured in their eagerness,
your hands concocting potions intended to save men.

Yet all your alchemy was spurned by the gods, unwilling
to permit the possibility of anything that spelled an end

to their hold on the human body. So down fell
the whitest light from heaven, a needle turning your bones

into stars, wove your skeleton
into the blanket of sky, denied you all but a single constellation:

to look over the people you wanted to relieve
from the shackles of their flesh, heads bobbing like pins

in the distant earth below. And, just when you had accepted
this punishment, nestled your head in that tiny patch of the universe—

when even the gods who cursed you had turned to supernovas, voiceless
in their twinkling—those people you watched over, swathed

in the warmth of you, decide that you no longer have a place
among the constellations. How does this betrayal feel?

How your lungs breathe nothing
more than clumped bits of dying light.




Alyza Taguilaso is a resident doctor training in General Surgery at Ospital ng Muntinlupa in the Philippines. Her poems have been shortlisted in the Bridport Poetry Prize and Manchester Poetry Prize. They have been published in several print and online publications, including Fantasy Magazine, Strange Horizons, ANMLY, High Chair, Stone Telling Magazine, Philippines Free Press, and Kritika Kultura. You may find out more about her writing on her website: https://alyzataguilastorm.wordpress.com.