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‘Half-empty’ by Romalyn Ante – Primers Shortlist 2017

‘The Philippines must be half-empty; you’re all here running the NHS’
– Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Migrationazoline (available in full or half-empty bottles)

____– prophylaxis of parents who nag like masonry drills,
______saying they did not send you to college
______to be a health-centre volunteer
____– ulcers on the lips for eating kamote and kangkong every night
____– chronic aching for a house and garden of your own
____– chest tightness and/or dyspnoea as you watch your child drool
______over Special Shaomai
____– episodic blindness secondary to power-cuts

____– do not take this medicine if you have a weak heart
______or sensitivity to the tug of your child at your skirt.

____– your husband may look for another lover while you’re gone
____– your child may forget your name
____– you may not be able to fly back home in time for your mother’s

Side effects:
____– drowsiness/vertigo/nausea
____– behaviour changes (depends on how lazy your colleague is)
____– weight loss (as you ceaselessly convert pounds to peso
______and deprive yourself of a steak bake or a Cornish pasty)
____– low mood (on occasions like Nochebuena)
____– severe acne (aka unknown relatives who unexpectedly appear
______and demand money)
____– bloating (as you yearn for the sweetness of lanzones
______or see flakes of desiccated coconut in the black November sky)
____– intermittent euphoria (when you hand the bald girl
______her crocheted unicorn and her mother the Discharge Form)
____– acute insomnia (when a kid on a stretcher is rushed
______through the door – his face blood-soaked, and for a second
______you think he’s the child you left back home)

Romalyn Ante is on the ten-person shortlist for Primers Volume III. ‘Half-empty’ is the title poem of her shortlisted manuscript. We’ve been showcasing the work of all the shortlisters writers over the last two weeks. See the shortlist announcement page for links.

Romalyn grew up in the Philippines; she is currently a Jerwood/Arvon mentee 17/18. She recently won the Creative Future Literary Awards for Poetry and was commended in Battered Moons Poetry Competition.

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