Tuesday, December 1, 2020
Home Poetry Flores para los muertos

Flores para los muertos

Tired eyes shut in deep slumber

Glass beads wound

Around clasped hands

I dare not disturb her peace

 

The flickering light

Of mourning candles

Bring back memories

Of cold gray mornings

 

Apo baket keeping watch

Beside the three-stone hearth

Inabel blanket wrapped

Around her bony frame

 

I catch a whiff

Of her nicotine breath

As she massages my scalp

With coconut oil

 

I hear her cuss

As I flinch and resist

The ruthless suyod

That she runs across my head

 

The cicadas are quiet now

And the sampaguitas

Are dreaming

Their fragrant dreams

 

I lift her wizened hand

To my forehead

And pray

Her ancient prayers

 

Madrugada

 

the fragrant darkness

of your thick hair

frames

your tranquil face

 

the supple skin

of your bare back

bears

marks from the mat

on which you lie

 

the warmth

of your breath

ascends

with the heaving

of your breasts

 

dawn moist

with anticipation

rises

between your legs

 

El amante

 

Standing under a tree

Surveying the land

Now bathed in yellow light

As the sun bids

The sturdy green shoots

Farewell

He hesitates

To leave

 

Scratching the caked mud

On his foot

That rests on a mound

Of cold earth

He hears the croaking of a frog

And the distant crowing

Of a bird in flight

 

He tries to understand

The message of apo dios

Writ on the land

And in the sky

But he doesn’t believe in poetry

And he can’t read God

 

Canción de esperanza

 

Before the roosters crow at dawn

I wait for him to rise

With his breakfast of fish and rice

He rides his carabao to the field

I wait a while before I wash his muddy clothes

 

Before the midday sun burns his back

He rests I come

Bringing him sustenance

Dreaming of deliverance

 

Alone in the afternoon

I scrub the whole house

With is-is leaves

 

At dusk I gather his dry clothes

And prepare myself for his return

 

While the cicadas shush my dreams I wait

  

 El amante

 

Standing under a tree

Surveying the land

Now bathed in yellow light

As the sun bids

The sturdy green shoots

Farewell

He hesitates

To leave

 

Scratching the caked mud

On his foot

That rests on a mound

Of cold earth

He hears the croaking of a frog

And the distant crowing

Of a bird in flight

 

He tries to understand

The message of apo dios

Writ on the land

And in the sky

But he doesn’t believe in poetry

And he can’t read God

 

 

 

Canción de esperanza

 

Before the roosters crow at dawn

I wait for him to rise

With his breakfast of fish and rice

He rides his carabao to the field

I wait a while before I wash his muddy clothes

 

Before the midday sun burns his back

He rests I come

Bringing him sustenance

Dreaming of deliverance

 

Alone in the afternoon

I scrub the whole house

With is-is leaves

 

At dusk I gather his dry clothes

And prepare myself for his return

 

While the cicadas shush my dreams I wait

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