Friday, October 17, 2014

Poem of the Week: Joseph O. Legaspi


Amphibians live in both.

Immigrants leave their land,
hardening in the sea.

Out of water.

In Greek, amphibian means
"on both sides of life."

Terra and aqua.  Shoreline.
In fresh water:

amphibians lay
shell-less eggs;
immigrants give birth
to Americans.

Tadpoles, polliwogs
metamorphose: gills
in early stages.  On land,

amphibians develop lungs.
Immigrants develop lungs.

Through damp skin
amphibians oxygenate.

Immigrants toil
and sleep breathlessly.

Skin forms glands. 
Eyes form eyelids.

Amphibians seek land; immigrants, other lands.

Their colors brighten, camouflage.

They've been known to fall
out of the sky.

Fully at home in the rain.

Used by permission.
Photo by Emmy Catedral.

Joseph O. Legaspi is the author of Imago(CavanKerry Press) and two chapbooks: Aviary, Bestiary (Organic Weapon Arts), winner of the David Blair Memorial Prize, and Subways (Thrush Press). Recent works appeared in,jubilatThe JournalPainted Bride Quarterly,BLOOM, and the anthology Coming Close (Prairie Lights/University of Iowa Press). He co-founded Kundiman (, a non-profit organization serving Asian American literature.

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