“Aswang Mango: Santiago’s Fantasia” by Vince Gotera (MiGoZine Summer 2021) was nominated for a 2022 Rhysling Award in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association. The Rhysling is given for best speculative poem in the previous year.
ASWANG MANGO: SANTIAGO’S FANTASIA
—curtal sonnet There is no fruit I love more than the mango. Taut skin, yellow and red, the blushing cheek of a maiden, the soft curve, the shy smile on my girl’s sensuous mouth, a slow tango smoldering in her eyes. The mango’s sleek flesh, sweet and fragrant as her bosom. While Clara’s away these summer nights, the heavens cloudless and clear, moonlight-filled, where she wheels in air, she leaves with me her hips, two cheeks like shapely fruits, the moon’s curvy crescent, firm mango handfuls. Note: this poem is part of an ongoing novel-in-poems about two aswang—Philippine mythical monsters—who fall in love and try to live as ordinary humans. Clara is a manananggal, which means that she can split herself at the waist, with the top half flying off to hunt prey, leaving her bottom half, in this case, in the care of her lover Santiago.
Vince Gotera teaches at the University of Northern Iowa, where he served as Editor of the North American Review (2000-2016). He is also former Editor of Star*Line, the print journal of the international Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (2017-2020). His poetry collections include Dragonfly, Ghost Wars, Fighting Kite, The Coolest Month. and the upcoming Pacific Crossing. Recent poems appeared in Altered Reality Magazine, Crab Orchard Review, Dreams & Nightmares, The Ekphrastic Review, Philippines Graphic (Philippines), Rosebud, The Wild Word (Germany) and the anthologies Multiverse (UK), Dear America, and Hay(na)ku 15. He blogs at The Man with the Blue Guitar.