Cousin’s Thumbnail

By Jim Pascual Agustin

My cousin called us to a corner of the yard
where a coconut tree struck shadows
of long stripes with ends like knives.

“Look,” he said, “it’s almost time.”
He unravelled the thin scrap of cloth
that had been wrapped round his thumb

for a week. We knew something
happened when he went to visit
Uncle who had the temper of a typhoon.

We pictured coconuts falling at sharp
angles from slender trees as the winds
swirled round and round a single

moving eye. But he wouldn’t tell us.
The dark skin looked
dead around that loose nail.

With his other hand
he gave the nail a quick tug,
made us all shout.

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Jim Pascual Agustin

Jim Pascual Agustin / About Author

Jim Pascual Agustin writes and translates in Filipino and English. His randomly updated blog is He is deeply saddened and outraged by the policy claimed to be an all out war on drugs by the current president of the Philippines who was placed in power by a plurality vote, and not by a majority. This policy has resulted in the terror-inducing surge of summary executions of anyone alleged to be illegal drug peddlers or drug users.

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