I AM, VILLANELLE: Poetry by Aileen Cassinetto

I am from balikbayan boxes, veiled markers of identity.
I am from sunken galleons, misspent fragment of empires.
I am from handknotted piña fibers, a cultivar of possibilities.

I am from blue and white pottery, ghostly and full of stories.
I am from unglazed earthenware, seasoned with intent and fire.
I am from balikbayan boxes, movement of tenacity.

I am from the heartwood of wounded lign aloes, an unfortunate luxury.
I am from Glory of the Sea Cone, prized for its venom and spire.
I am from ocean crossings, an arbitrary and seaworthy possibility.

I am from repeated prayers and offerings, a Hail Mary pass and nine days to mercy.
I am from doomed love stories and ghosts with a grievance, manifesting ire and satire.
I am from a precarious bloodline, a balikbayan genealogy.

I am from the mother of all fiestas, sanguinary and exhibiting miraculously. 
I am from broken rosaries, indulgence for blessed and blooded modifiers.
I am from possibilities in a family tree that doesn’t end with me.

I am from buried treaties north of an archipelago, debris of synchronicity. 
I am from a chronology of losses and one wedded and wilder soothsayer.
I am from balikbayan boxes, veiled markers of identity.
I am foreshadowed in good faith, a possibility, empire of sundries.
Aileen Cassinetto

Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, Aileen Cassinetto is an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow and the Poet Laureate of San Mateo County, California. The founder of Paloma Press and author of two poetry collections, her work has appeared in POETRY magazine, Marsh Hawk Press Review, Fellowship Magazine, and Locofo Chaps, among others. She received a Special Congressional Recognition and was appointed Commissioner on the San Mateo County Commission on the Status of Women in 2021.

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