Lakan Umali

Lakan Umali graduated with a BA in Anthropology from the University of the Philippines Diliman and is currently pursuing an MA in Sociology from the same university. He is a former member of UP Writers Club, UP Lingua Franca, and the UP Anthropology Society. His short stories are included in Science Fiction: Filipino Fiction for Young Adults, Philippine Speculative Fiction Volume 10, Kritika Kultura, and upcoming in New Voices and Lontar: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction.

The Night Guest

Hear it, through the walls
how it crinkles
like overworked skin.
Unused to movement
its limbs grind
bone to socket.
It learns soon enough
how it is excused
from laws of earthly motion.
A cracked doorway,
slats of the vent
it exhausts all
avenues for entrance.
The signs are simple
made for children
so you’ve no excuse:
a far-off bell,
heavier nights.
Its birth comes
at your first unraveling.
Even when you think
you’ve banished it
to dust and void,
look outside your window
at the flickering lamp;
it isn’t there, it’s never there.
How you wish, but it’s never
that far away.
Before sleep, you feel
its hands sliding
through bedspread
until it wraps itself
around you, hard and whole.
If you close your eyes
long enough
it will return some other day.