May 10, 2014

Two Poems by Jim Pascual Agustin

The Ghosts of Fukushima

They are tired of running toward
ever-receding hills, clinging to lamp posts
soft as young shoots of bamboo,
waving to people who have taken
and YouTubed their jittery footage.
They have come to live

in the corners of your house
where you hang your clothes.
They drink from the tap
you left dripping in the bathroom.
If you revisit photo albums
you haven't touched for years,

you will see them standing
behind people you know.
Their breath, static
on your cellphone.
They speak to you
in the language

of radiant green waters.
From under your bed
fingernails glow. Just before
you fall asleep a pillow
is swallowed by a floor
of rampaging waves.

Land of Wolves

They lick bitter water
from green mouths of wells
laced with wormwood.

They pad through classrooms
and nurseries, pawing at books
and milk powder tins.

They gaze up birdless trees
that have grown between
abandoned rescue vehicles.

Sometimes they wander in apartment
blocks, up staircases littered
with leaves, documents and photographs.

These wolves do not know how to read
Geiger counters. The dwindling
hunched samosely they encounter can.

Jim Pascual Agustin writes and translates poetry in Filipino and English. He grew up in the Philippines and now lives in South Africa. His recent poetry collections, released in 2013 by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, are Kalmot ng Pusa sa Tagiliran and Sound Before Water. His blog is


  1. A booming voice to continue trumpeting out!

  2. I agree. These poems are wonderful. Thank you to Donna Smith for pointing them out to me.

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