Makiling Dusk


Wind from the lake below

Has brought the fine rain

That wet the stair railings

Between classrooms on Makiling.

As I step out after class,

The cold droplets cling to my palms

And I check the gray sky,

The west tinted with fading orange.

It seems to have held back

The drenching: Not a quiver

Among the leaves, not a quaver

Of solfeggio or piano exercise

Emanates from any of the buildings.

The whole twilight has paused

But this is no Angelus of provincial

Church bells: Nothing stirs

In the chill, not the swirl

Of the skirt of the Goddess

I imagine passing under

The overhanging branches.

Beyond, in the gaps among

The darkening leaves,

Los Baños sparkles.



All the dogs are fast asleep under Duterte.

Their frightened yelping has stopped

After the last gunshot, when all the windows

Closed and porch lights turned off.

Faces in the half-light retreated behind

Doors gingerly shut, hooks and crossbars

Slid into slots, bolts and latches clicked

Into place. All arguments ended or were never

Again taken up. Even the unblinking lamppost

Refused to witness the pair-less flip-flop

Drop from the departing patrol jeep.

The night has swallowed the blaring karaoke,

The cats and their caterwauling have ceased.



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