Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Barbara Jane Reyes on Joseph O. Legaspi
In "Imagined Love Poem to My Mother from My Father," even in the domestic and bloody act of scaling, slitting, and gutting a milkfish, the mother is an mythic mermaid, a precious trophy, "a silver mine to be mined." Here, "to be mined" is also to become the possession of another. Legaspi is especially adept at layering gendered roles and power dynamics, mythological and religious wonder, and desire that is both beautiful and brutal: "Do unto me, the spy / up in the thick fruit tree, as you have done / unto the milkfish...."