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Coco Onzo

Four Steps To Standing on a Horse - Penny Howard - 2014
Coco Onzo, an undergraduate student in the University of the Philippines. Some of her work has appeared or are forthcoming in Softblow, Toasted Cheese, Santa Clara Review and Tower Journal.

Nude Portrait

shrapnel of
           rainbow, clues

of a theft,
           another horizon

stashed in her
           chest, above

nude suns
           capsized, waning

white specks
           of wish bottles

losing their
thrust, he drew

her crosshatch
           with fingers

veteran to scars
           of a flogged arm

chair, dry ink
blot across her

breast, she
a cut apple

supinated over
wrinkled oilskin

& he walks
the distance of

her chiaroscuro
           a single bullet

in the cylinder
           of his lead gun

barren interpreter

her body was an imposition
that refused to dance –

           were her ciphers spoken in a language of space, dissolution of grace on her tongue, in her,
gone; as the ghosts of our prayers rise from the cushion, another body gets broken as our throats
throw friction to flame; she was a weeping candle, to stifle, quietly as the
lovemaking between
dust, a distant collision of clouds, or the rust clawing out from a zipper


                                   Once upon a time --

measured sunlight, wounded by
a jalousie left ajar, scorches the eyelids

of a two-inch plywood, nudged
           from its slumber of gyrating leaves

arthritic spine spurring a few grunts.
           coppery rheum like burnt moth wings

by its amputated hip, a discomfort
in its belly from derelicts gnawing

through many years of varnish &
           burgundy paint. today, loose knobs

welcome the pin jamming through.
           a voltage to the brain, where a memory

a name -- Poplar, whispered to
           a weak-kneed sapling, hands cupping its ass

its loam, then lowered, buried, left to pine
           a century for this arborist’s glove.

a century -- of stretching one’s neck
           one ring after width, into the drought

toes digging through bedrock, even
           then, charred twigs, cocoons bursting

like tiny grenades amid gray sheets
drowsy eyes, ready to drown in soil

                                   a prince appears --

with a carver’s mask, painted in
sap, saw ready to placate, till death do us

part, drilled and branded, cuffs of fake
           gold & a glass peep hole, revering his

rooms, without fear of slamming
shut. as the tinkering is gouged by

a resounding crunch, belly ripped to a
peasant’s crown, it could only sing.

scraped wind offering its narrations
           a third person with a crowbar

turning a knob, opening a door,

she says hello --                            

a splinter finally reaching home.