“A Clove Scented Winter” by Zeny May Dy Recidoro


83. To Make Poor Paper not Flow When You Write on it.

     Dip the paper in alum water.  I, Hohman, will hereafter pour a little water on the alum and moisten the paper. Then I will see whether one can write on it.


  From “The Long Hidden Friend”, Journal of American Folk-lore (1904)


Again, some kind of alchemy at work retracing speech

in the turning color,

in the sighing snow.

        Dream of the mirror house on another shore,

        where a direct gaze is evaded

        where one speaks in the winding steps

        of a shadow on the far wall the shadow is


that hidden friend who followed

on a journey across the water.

Every moment captured is a slip into oblivion

a knowing that undoes as it binds.


Every house is haunted outside

the trees know this and bear

their secrets in the winter.

They are generous in telling

the secrets, they scatter

leaves in the wild wind.


                    A clove scented winter, meant

                    to stand for love and protection

                    where there is none. There is

a lone, hidden friend

at every doorway, stair

well, an unrecognizable face

that recognizes every

one else. It must be

the spite that enables one to remember so well.

Spite that turns to saccharine.


some kind of alchemy at work retracting steps

in the attempt to find new ways for old words

   dreaming of new vices for old voices.






Zeny May Dy Recidoro is a writer based in New York City. She is an Asian Cultural Council fellow and is currently taking up an MFA in Art Writing at the School of Visual Arts. She was born and raised in the Philippines.

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