Fiction / July 2018 (Issue 40: Writing the Philippines)


by Daryll Delgado

I ask the taxi driver to avoid the big murky puddle and drop me off at the corner, in front of the bakery. I tip him fifty pesos for the trouble. Salamat, Doktora. He smiles in gratitude. I don't correct him. I realise I'm still in scrubs. Let him think I'm a doctor. Why the hell not? I've practically taken over the primary care of my patient. I even give the physician advice. Of course, I'm always careful to make Dr. Enrique think the suggestions came from him. No use antagonising the Crisologos' family doctor.

Maybe Edwin is right. I take on too much for too little, from this family. But he doesn't understand that this is not a simple patient-nurse relationship, and I don't like getting into it with him. He can be relentless, sees things only in black and white and doesn't stop until I am convinced that I am oppressed, I am a victim.

Another text came from him earlier. I ignored it. Not interested in what else he has to say. Too early in the morning for his drama. Why do I have to relieve him of his feelings of guilt? Screw him. I want to get on with my day. Can't wait to get to the salon, extract the painful ingrown that's been pushing insistently against the tender insides of my left toe.


It's a great day to be out. I am struck again by the strange beauty, yes, beauty, of early mornings in Talipapa. I guess anything, even this pigsty of a place, can look gentler in the first light of day. The streets are clear of tricycles and vendors. Only a few shops are open, but the bakery is already filled with barely-awake night-shift labourers, getting their pan de sal, before returning to makeshift quarters on construction sites. I pass the street sweepers on the gutter, hugging their brooms, waiting for the truck to collect the previous day's refuse, huddled over what looks like a tabloid.

I've stopped buying tabloids, though I still watch the news. Same thing every day. Bodies in sidewalks and garbage dumps and creeks. Nothing new. Don't know why last night's news bothered me. A grandmother shot in the face, in broad daylight. Her granddaughter next to her. Could have happened at this very corner, by the jeepney terminal, but, of course, there would be no trace of it now. Hard to tell. All slums look the same. All crime scenes look the same.

God knows we're no strangers to killings in this area, though maybe not on this scale. Funny, how much prominence, notoriety, this godforsaken place has acquired in the last months. Morgues and funeral homes have sprouted almost overnight.

Libing Things Funeral Services. Still cracks me up. In Bisaya we say "lubong" instead of "libing" for burial, so the pun won't work. Perfect in Tagalog, where we sometimes pronounce "living" as "libing" anyway. I shouldn't be laughing. I'm certainly not amused at how we've become fodder for primetime news. It's always Talipapa. As if killings weren't happening in other areas, too. As if neighbourhoods didn't exist here, as if we were just one big dumpsite. To be fair, that's how I feel most times about this place—a large bin of Metro Manila's undesirables. How else would have I been able to afford a house and lot here? But now everyone knows where Talipapa is. Now very few taxis want to venture to these parts at night.

At least no bodies are getting dumped in Green View. A few months ago, the subdivision homeowners agreed to fix the abandoned guardhouse and the rickety gates, and to hire a night-shift security guard to man the post. This means a monthly contribution of some three hundred pesos per household. I think it's fair. I wasn't at the meeting. Edwin was. It was one of the last things he did as a member of our household. As my husband.

Edwin thought it was frivolous, we're a low-cost subdivision, we can barely afford the monthly bills. Barangay council's responsibility to keep our neighborhood safe—

I bet he enjoyed being the contrarian. I imagine him in that meeting: well-dressed, generously cologned, hair neatly-combed. Prepared for combat. He likes to remind people that he is not just your typical supermarket merchandiser. He used to be a union organiser. He is a thinking man. He reads the papers, not just tabloids.

He was outvoted. Practicality, not so much paranoia, contrary to Edwin's claim, won. Everybody hates drugs and addicts. But even the ones who actively supported the president, like myself, are afraid. We know our city, our police. Mistakes happen, negligence is common, corruption is rampant. We know all that, we learn how to live with all that.

Some think the barangay officers are in on it. Sa tingin mo? Feeling ko, oo. Where else would the names come from? I told Edwin.

But that's just the wrong attitude to take! We must make our government accountable, but let's play our part, too, Edwin said. Besides, it's just a list, there's a proper criminal procedure for arrests, it's not as if they'll just storm houses and take people—

That was four months ago. Now there are more reports of masked men and police officers in uniform, storming houses, dragging people out or shooting them inside their homes. But not here in our subdivision, no, thank goodness.

A tricycle driver I talked to told me that his father was shot multiple times while taking a bath in an outhouse bathroom. He said his father was practically naked, but the blotter and the news report indicated that he had fought back and left the police no choice but to shoot him. A man in his walwal, loose-garter, briefs, the boy said, shaking his head, laughing sardonically. How the hell could he have fought back, where would he have hidden his gun? Maybe they were surprised at the sight of his titi! Ha ha!

He said no one among his neighbours was willing to be a witness, even if they all saw what had happened. They saw the police break open the wobbly door, scan the small house, head for the bathroom at the back. They heard several shots fired. A few minutes later, the men came back out to the street. Some went to the small convenience store, to buy and smoke cigarettes. They didn't seem to be in a hurry. Like they were casually waiting for somebody. After a while, a white van from one of the funeral parlours came to collect the body.

The boy had to scour all the morgues and funeral homes and hospitals in the city for his father before finding him at Libing Things. He said he was thankful that the body was still there, that it had not been dumped in the trash pile, or the creek. Problem was, he couldn't take his father home. Must raise twenty-four thousand pesos first, para daw sa body retrieval, embalming—

I told Edwin the boy's story. He said these are exceptions among thousands of legal arrests and legitimate encounters. And then, parroting the police, Edwin added, if people have nothing to hide, they shouldn't have anything to fear—

That made me laugh out loud, as in LOL, as my daughter, Mela, would say. I guess some people do have something to hide, yes? I said flippantly, trying to lighten his mood, while I vigorously mixed the garlic-and-chorizo fried rice I was cooking then.

Edwin turned silent. I looked at him, his face was pale, his eyes twitched. I didn't think then that he had anything to hide. I thought he was just stumped by my response. How could I have been so blind?


God, I can barely keep my eyes open. Been pulling too many all-nighters, thanks to Ms. C's nocturnal hyperactivity. It drives me nuts that she would be so docile in the mornings and afternoons, when Dr. Enrique and Jen, the daughter, were around. Then it's as though she's a totally different person, many different persons rather, at nighttime.

I shouldn't be surprised. Anxiety, hallucination in terminally ill patients usually manifest at night. I just wish her excretions didn't have to happen during the tail-end of my shift, too. Lately, I've had to be extra alert, make sure she is settled on her commode at the right time. I've been missing the signs more times than I care to admit, and she's been missing the target, deliberately, I sometimes think.

I was probably a bit rough with her last night, rubbing the thick wad of dry tissue against her already sore anus harder than usual. Don't know why I did that. Maybe I do. Too many reasons. The woman in the news. Edwin's text message. Mela growing farther and farther away from me. But no, no, I shouldn't have done that. I should have used wet wipes. Ms. C had winced but went on with her litany of names and places, continued in the imaginary conversation I ceased to try to make sense of many nights ago.

I tried to make up for my actions by patting calamine lotion on the sore spots and massaging her lower back. I admit to a few tears escaping from my tired, tired eyes, when I saw the sores, when I heard her sigh in deep relief. But then, after that, I was subjected to an annoying girly shriek. Ms. C was obviously still somewhere else, and barely noticed my penance, my remorse. Her mood lightened me up though. I decided to ditch, just for that night, the adult diaper which she always resists wearing. I picked a soft cotton underwear instead, and gently inserted one pale thin leg after another into the pant holes. She could tell the difference right away. I saw her face soften, savour the comfort of diaper-less underwear. Less than two hours later, she soiled her underwear and the bed again.


God, I miss my bed. I wish I could go straight home and collapse on my bed. But I need to get supplies from the bakery: a dozen pan de sal, some sliced bread, coconut jam, and Cheez Whiz for little Monina.

Mela usually leaves Monina with me when she knows I'm off-duty. I do miss my sweet apo, but just this once, I wish I could have two full days all to myself. Catch up on sleep, on TV viewing. Spend a day at SM North. But I cannot say no to Mela, and she knows it. Maybe I also need to have my granddaughter around, after spending too many nights with my elderly patient. I do sometimes need to feel, to be reminded, that I am far from old, even if I am a certified lola.

No one believes that I am a lola, a grandmother, at my age, forty-eight. My own mother died at forty-eight. The life span in my family tends to be short. I guess that's why things have to happen at a much faster pace. Mela had Monina at twenty-two, just a year younger than I was when I had her.

Mine has turned into a story worthy of those afternoon radio dramas I used to listen to all the time, I told Jen once.  

And what is that, what's your melodrama?

I'm not even fifty and I have a two-year old apo, an irresponsible daughter, a husband who's left me for a woman half my age. No, not sordid enough for telenovela, no? But maybe for radio drama …

Jenny didn't know if she should laugh or say sorry when I told her this. We were sharing a cup of coffee in the kitchen. My shift had just ended. She patted my hand gently, made some sympathetic sounds.

Only thing Jenny and I have in common is that we're both separated from our husbands. At forty-two, she has no children. Although she's living with an eighty-one-year-old mother whom she's devoted to, nothing much tethers Jenny to the ground. That's why she can afford to fly and travel so much, take on risky assignments in remote places.

I could have had that kind of life, if I had decided to work abroad, if I had pursued public health. I did well in our community nursing course, taking the lead in the field research we conducted in the barrios. I wrote well, my teachers told me. I got an A in my research paper. I could have pursued that track earlier, could have travelled, but then Mela came along. Also, do I really want what Jenny has? Maybe not all of it, no. I can imagine liking the independence, the mobility, certainly the money. But I can't imagine being on a plane every other week, doing field work in remote places for days.


I met Jen in Tacloban, right after Haiyan. I managed to land a contract job at CARE Intl. My first time to work for an international NGO, and to be back in Leyte since I left in 1990. It was also Jenny's first time to be on the island since moving to Manila for high school. Turned out, Jenny and I were the only Waray speakers in the team of foreign aid consultants. We ended up spending a lot of time together. She was with the project for only a few months, but we stayed in touch.

Several months ago, she contacted me for referrals. Need a caregiver or private nurse for Mom. Patient too picky, prickly, you can imagine, Sal. We need someone firm, someone she can respect, she said.

I had just finished my contract then. Was hoping for a renewal. We heard that the new president was against receiving aid from international agencies. He said something funny about UN agencies on TV, but I didn't believe he would actually prevent us from doing our jobs. That would be stupid. I was wrong. We were advised that a reevaluation of priority areas was underway. Meanwhile, most of us were not getting renewed.

I was fine with it, really. Though I wasn't sure I wanted to return to hospital work, or if I should finally try working abroad. I took on Ms. Crisologo, temporarily, while I looked for another project, while Jen looked for a hospice care nurse. It's been almost a year. I have been caring for Ms. Crisologo ever since.

My ex-colleague is now my employer, even if she calls me her caregiving partner, saying she relies on me to keep her mom alive. I think I can claim to being a friend, even if Jen has to pay me for my services. I don't come cheap, I'm overqualified. I could have applied for a job abroad, with my credentials. But I don't need to remind Jenny of this.


I remember to text Jenny that another nurse has been booked and that she should take the weekend off. Earlier I had to force her to go out, nothing will happen to your mom. I hope she took my advice.

I tick this off from my to-do list. I need to get all my errands out of the way before my two precious off-days are completely taken over by household and Monina duties. I have not done a full check of what I need to restock in the house since Edwin left. I've been mostly at the Crisologos'. I'm home only for a night or two every other week. Unless Monina is around, I'm usually too tired to cook, have no appetite for food.

I used to eat a lot, cook a lot. On my days off, I would cook three or four dishes to last Edwin the rest of the week. I loved it, cooking. Used to give me a deep sense of satisfaction watching Edwin devour the dishes I prepared. Also used to whet my appetite, for food, and even for sex, which we always had on my few days off, and which I thought we were still good at, after more than twenty years of being married. Maybe I have been deluding myself. We did both love food, that's for sure. I loved eating with him, that one I and my belly fat cannot deny.

I wonder if the thin woman he's with knows how to cook. I wonder if she even eats. I know I have to learn to eat alone. Soon. If I know what's good for me.  


I almost get hit by a tricycle as I limp across the street. Sorry, Doktora! The young driver calls out, smiling in a too-friendly manner. Sakay kayo?

I am about to yell, I'm fine, I can walk, and I'm a nurse, not a doctor, OK?!, but I realise it is the young driver who brought me to the subdivision gate the last time. I can't recall his name, only his story, about his father.

Uy, kumusta? How's everything?

He shrugs, smiles sadly. I tell him I have to drop by a few other places, but will look for him later at the terminal, when I'm ready to go.

OK, Mam. Ingat.

Ingat. Take care, he says, driving off, leaving me staring after his red tricycle. Take care. How does one do that these days? How does he do it, still driving around Talipapa, still living in the house where his father was killed? I'm pretty sure the lola taking her apo to school two days ago was taking care. I'm sure she wasn't expecting to get shot in the face that day. I know I was taking care of my family, my husband. He left anyway. Mela, as soon as she could, also went away. I ignore the beginnings of a migraine in my right temple, the slight pin prick somewhere in my chest. Not as bothersome as the grumbling in my stomach, or the piercing pain in my left toe anyway.


I wait for my turn in the bakery, letting hungrier construction workers have their time at the counter. I watch them flirting with the store attendants, while I wince at the growing discomfort in my left toe. I'm positive that it is an abscessed ingrown. I shouldn't have skipped my mani-pedi schedule two weeks ago. I have my own set with me, I always do. But there has simply been no time to deal with the darn toenail. Ms. C's stats and behaviour have been erratic in the last couple of days.

I can't help but also keep close watch over Jenny. I see a breakdown coming. I see it in the dark circles under her eyes, the slight tremors in her hands. I see it in her distractedness, alternating with intense focus. I don't understand her. I don't understand why she does not ask for help. She cannot do this alone, clearly. Most patients' families are quite the opposite. Too many carers, too many interfering relatives. I don't know what reason Jenny has for withholding information. Maybe she wants to protect her elderly relatives? Maybe she herself is in denial?

Maybe I am a bit fascinated with her self-denials and delusions. I know I shouldn't think this way. But hers takes my mind off my own dramas. Too many of them, God knows.


Lord, I can't wait to sit in the salon and have this goddamn ingrown removed. I think I might just indulge in a full body massage, too. And a haircut. Yes, definitely a haircut.

Ever since I could afford it, I have always indulged in at least a mani-pedi every month. Back home in Matalom, I used to have special mani-pedi service from my mother every Sunday. Never mind that she was really just trying out different nail polish colours on me.

We'd be on the wooden stairs of our house, facing the back of St. Joseph Parish Church. I'd be on the top step, Nanay two steps below me, cradling my feet in her lap. While she worked on my toenails, clipping away dead cells methodically, rhythmically, I'd be lost in thought. A radio drama would be blaring from the small transistor radio placed on the step between us. Nanay's hair in curlers, a finely rolled cigarette sometimes in one hand and a cuticle remover in another. Then there's me, trying hard not to fall asleep, so I won't miss the climax of the radio drama: when the identity of the woman is revealed—she is, of course, invariably, the long-lost daughter of a very rich man. And just like that, all her troubles fall away from her, like the dead skin and overgrown nails being clipped away from my toes.

Nanay liked to listen to the panawagan breaks, more than to the drama. Whenever the panawagan—announcements/appeals/requests—came on, she would pause in mid-air, listen intently, hoping and dreading at the same time that the message would be for someone she knew or, simba ko, God forbid, the message would be for her.

The panawagan could be good or bad news: death or sickness or childbirth, an accident, a celebration, a missing person, a found person, money needed, money offered, a promo, a contest, a warning, an invitation. They always came during the most thrilling parts of the drama. So annoying. But Nanay would always shush me, make clucking noises of regret when the panawagan was about something tragic, even if it happened to someone she didn't know. She'd clap her hands with glee, or sigh in envy, ah how lucky, ka-suerte, when it was about someone's accomplishments or good fortune being announced.

Beyond the sounds coming out of our radio, around us it was almost pure quiet. Dead hours, I used to call them, the hours between noontime and the first afternoon mass.

I don't know why I've been recalling those afternoon hours with Nanay lately. She's been dead for almost thirty years now. Could be my age. Same as her death age. Though I've no problem with death, not at all. I've seen too many people die, too many dead bodies untended.


I wasn't with Nanay when she died. Sometimes I imagine how it must have been. I try not to dwell. I focus on my patient and the patient's family as much as I can. But some Sundays are particularly challenging.

Sunday was always our special day. Nanay worked as a parlour assistant from Monday to Saturday. On slow days, she accepted laundry from the women whose nails she buffed and painted. Sundays were always for me.

It was her dream to see me in a white uniform, not to earn the same kind of money that the daughters of our neighbours earned, but as much as nurses in Saudi, the U.K. or the U.S. She thought the uniform itself was dignified, clean, beautiful. She herself liked to tie her hair in a bun and wear white when she was in the parlour.

So, nursing then. After that, medicine, if the grades and scholarship will allow it, I told Nanay, while she eagerly watched me fill out admission and scholarship applications for schools in Tacloban.

Nanay passed away when I was on my second year in nursing school. By then, I had become adept at doing mani-pedis myself. Adept enough to earn from them, servicing the boarders in that dank, dimly lit boarding house in Tacloban. Occasionally, I would service the landlady in the main house, too.

I distinctly remember that afternoon. I was in the middle of pedicuring my landlady in their airy living room. In the background, the radio was blaring some drama, and then the panawagan came on. I was only half-listening, annoyed at the interruption, when I caught the word Matalom. My ears pricked up. My heart started palpitating. I forced myself to calm down, keep my hands still, while I tried to very gently pry a thick ingrown nail from my landlady's slightly swollen, right big toe.

Nananawagan, an pamilya ni Manuela Ilagan, kun hino man an nakakabati, alayon pag-pasabot han iya anak nga hi Salve Ilagan, nga an lawas han iya nawara nga Nanay, aadto yana ha Funeraria …


"Nawara." Lost, missing, disappeared, absent, not there. In the panawagan, they never use the word "namatay," expired, dead.

My Nanay had been dead for three days by the time I made it to Matalom. I recovered her body from the morgue. I dressed her in white—a button-down blouse, a lace skirt. I buffed and painted her hardened, curled, toenails. She looked beautiful, neat, though so much tinier than how I remembered her.

It happened in the afternoon, between noontime and the afternoon mass, they said. A las tres, the hour of great mercy. Others said she died in the hospital, while being treated. For what? Nobody could tell. A neighbour she was doing laundry for brought her there when she collapsed while in the middle of hanging clothes in the yard. She had been feverish for days. Some said it was sanib, a curse, an evil possession. She was as healthy as a carabao, all of a sudden she was so sick, so thin. Others said poison, hilo, lason. She was beautiful, but sometimes too friendly with the husbands of her jealous clients. The parish priest said God's plan. Life is a mystery, only God knows what lies in store for each of us. Our sister Manuela was a good woman. Even if she bore a daughter out of wedlock, she lived a simple life, served her community, and with our intercession, her sins will be forgiven …

I read the death certificate. Cause of death: pneumonia.

Right after the burial, I gathered what few belongings Nanay had into a box: her mani-pedi set, a few clothes, my school certificates and trophies, photos of me in school ceremonies and one of me in my white nursing uniform. I brought them all to my boarding house in Tacloban. The box came with me, too, when I moved to Manila. It now lies under my bed. I have neither opened it nor have I been back to Matalom since.


I step out of the bakery, and start eating the warm pan de sal. Still too early, but I walk to the salon, my left toe throbbing. I like being the first customer. The salon gets crowded on Sundays. It used to be called Divina's Divine Divas Salon for the longest time but is now iPrettiserie. Thankfully, everything else about it is the same, even if two of the senior stylists, Reenah and Divine, are also now called Ringo and Dino, for some reason.

A young woman I have not seen before lets me in. A tiny creature with too much makeup on, and blonde, yellow corn, dyed hair. Bago? I ask her if she is new here, and she nods, smiles brightly.

There are always two or three of them, young women, salon assistants. All from the provinces, and they are invariably Bisaya, exploring possibilities in Manila. I speak to them in our language, and they warm up to me immediately. I always wish they would stay longer, unless they have to move to bigger salons, better-paying jobs. But I know that some of them end up in the row of bars along Mindanao Avenue or, worse, on the sidewalks of Quezon Avenue.

The salon is not quite open yet. I can smell the canned corned beef and burnt garlic fried rice breakfast from the small pantry behind the hair-washing station. A Tagalog song is blaring from the radio which is usually tuned to an FM station that plays English-language standards, supposedly to give the salon an air of elegance.

I like the Tagalog song. I sometimes hear it sung in church, about faith and banishing fears. I can't remember the last time I was inside a church. I always plan to attend mass, but tiredness, the long list of errands overtake me. The salon appointment, however, I always try to keep.

Haircut, mani-pedi and massage, I tell the girl, Megs, as I get settle in my usual seat, near the window. Stylist? I tell her it's Reenah, I mean Ringo. She nods and goes to the storage area for the necessaries.

I spy him, Ringo, at the counter, racked with sobs, two of the apprentices comforting him. Dino, meanwhile, is in front of one of the mirrors, sprucing up his hair. He seems angry, but it's not clear to me to whom the anger is directed.

I've told you a million times, a million times, to take him out of here, send him to the provinces, stop enabling him … But no, no, no, because you are blinded by lust. You're a fool! And now what happens? Maybe we are all on the list, ha? Maybe one of us is next? Did you not think of that?

Ringo mumbles something in between sobs. I figure that someone named Ton has either been caught or killed, by either a masked man or the police.

I should have been there, I should have gone straight home, he manages to say, in between sobs.

Gaga ka! Dino makes an act of throwing his hairbrush at Ringo but slams it instead on the counter. Gusto mo pati ikaw? You want to join him in jail, in the dumpster wrapped in masking tape, inside a garbage bag, is that what you want?! Tell me now and I'll let you go, I'll replace you! Leche ka—

Dino storms into the pantry. I hear him smashing more things on the table, while lecturing Ringo.

The girls try to comfort Ringo but seem more eager to extract the juicier parts of the story out of him and ask a barrage of questions. So, where did it happen? What time? We were still here in the salon, right? Oh, no, were we at Jollibee by then? Yes, you should have gone straight home, you could have seen the men's faces then. You could have explained that Ton had surrendered as soon as he found out his name was on the list. Was it a policeman, you say? How many of them? Were they masked? Did they shoot him before taking him? Was he alive when they took him?  


Tsk, poor Ringo, Megs tells me. Doesn't matter, deads na 'yan, if it happened here in Talipapa. These days, people get shot even inside police stations, in broad daylight …

I again recall last night's news. The image of the woman's body being heaved onto the stretcher flashed in my head. Her blouse was pulled apart when she was lifted, revealing her flabby stomach in an unflattering way. Her hair was matted with blood, plastered to her face. Mouth slack. Photos of her when she was alive showed someone who took good care of herself. Hair well-kempt, face nicely made up, dress clean and decent. She was probably just a few years older than me.

Megs arranges some tabloids in front of me, and I glimpse bodies, again, slumped like sacks on gutters.

It's his boy, Tony, adik talaga, everybody knows. In fairness, guapo. Been with Ringo for almost a year—


I shrug my shoulders in response, trying to shake off the unexpected sense of grief starting to invade me. I feel for Ringo, but I don't want to know the details, plus my throbbing toe feels like it is about to explode.

She keeps going. Ser Dino is correct, Ringo shouldn't go to the station or the hospitals, morgues. He shouldn't be linked. He should just wait. The body always turns up, she says, raising one of the tabloids to prove her point.

I pointedly look at my watch and ask when I can get my service started.

She grudgingly fills the tub with warm water, scented oils, something minty. Ser Ringo! Mam is ready! she calls out.

Ringo composes himself. I'll be right there, Mommy Sal, pasensya na, sorry

OK lang, Reens, I'll wait.

My phone vibrates. Text from Mela. Sorry, Nay. Won't bring Monina today. Maybe next week. Please deposit allowance as soon as you can.

I heave off my disappointment, decide not to reply. I check for other messages. Nothing from Jenny. The one from Edwin remains unread. I turn my phone off, drop it inside my bag.

The girls have lost interest in Ringo, now tidying themselves, putting on makeup, talking excitedly about last night's episode of My Dear Heart. One of them receives a text message and groans loudly. What?! I just sent money a week ago, ha! What do they think I do here?

I immerse my sore feet and ankles in the tub of aromatic warm water, lean my aching neck and head against the padded back of the chair. Ringo is still sobbing, loud, dry sobs, and blowing his nose noisily. I close my eyes. I wish I could close my ears, my other senses, too. I feel the abscess in my swollen ingrown softening.


Website © Cha: An Asian Literary Journal 2007-2018
ISSN 1999-5032
All poems, stories and other contributions copyright to their respective authors unless otherwise noted.