“Portrait of Hungarian Boy” by Alton Melvar M. Dapanas

This Pacific downpour, an outline, a yearning for heat.

How many graveyards for this boning?

And by landscape, I do not mean our native scenery: leis of jasmine, an Amorsolo
painting, seagulls against sunset, even coconut fronds.

It is this—how you pronounce sunset in Romani, hot springs in Budapest, brands of
pear liquor, years of Russian regime, wintry snow, the Jewish origin of your name.
Teach me,
                     I who know only know the tropics, its wet and dry seasons.

But how will I tell you about my forsaken demons as they dig their way up, regaining
their dominion?

I dare you, blonde boy with green irises, to only want, not remorse.

Plant my remains in a coffer, mark it three:
          —a reminder how we once had the alibi of touch
          —a testament that even this wreckage is something to look at
          —a covenant for us to never come back

Alton Melvar M. Dapanas (They/them)
Alton Melvar M. Dapanas is assistant creative nonfiction editor of London-based Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel and Iowa-based Atlas and Alice Literary Magazineas well as an editorial reader for Creative Nonfiction magazine. They identify as pansexual, nonbinary, and polyamorous. A native of Metro Cagayan de Oro in the southern Philippines, they are currently based in Siargao Island, living off-the-grid in between the Pacific Ocean and a mountain range.