Jeffrey Valencia

For over three
hundred years under
Spanish rule, I've
watched my people bleed
like pigs — the one before
a celebration. First
it's freshly butchered. You can
hear its helpless squeal
the moment the cold blade
touches its throat, sliced cleanly
blood dripping like
hot wax, staining the hands.

The carcass is cleaned
the entrails removed.
My people, we do not waste
a thing. Dinuguan:
its own intestines boiled
in its own peppered flesh.
We say it's
chocolate meat.

The pig is stuffed with
spices and banana leaves before
it is mounted lifeless
on a bamboo spit, hanging
submissive over
the charcoal fire
like a sacrifice made for
God, slowly burning.
And when it's fully roasted,
a shiny red apple is placed
in its mouth as if its
own silence was
never enough.

My people
we die, we
survive, we

Let us eat and