I see montages evoking regrets,
noble architectures dipped in pastels,
pale peaches and cream, reticent with their
secrets: are the things you tell me after
the rain. Together we look at pigments —
ochre, sienna, umber, sentinels on
lily-white walls, tactile yet taciturn.
What passes for us in-between: moments
of walking, fissures in cobblestone streets,
chance meetings at a flea market selling
forgotten memories. The city speaks
to us with its constant humming. There is
always water in your dreams the fortune
teller says, as she touches the lines on
my palms. Walking slowly is neither here
nor there. Intimate but not amorous:
is when our shoulders touch,
delicate and fragile: our tenuous desires.
Night signals departure chronicled by
curious stars. Point them out to me, you said,
like a finite whisper, and I thought: perhaps
you will stay if I tried hard enough. Look!
Our constellations are rising: Ara, Aquila, Andromeda…
“Nearly 100 people are feared dead in a landslide that buried a mining shelter…”
– Philippine Star
He scans the familiar surroundings:
a valley nestled in fog and mist,
lush, stippled-green swatches,
a scission-ploughed earth in between.
Too long and too deep have they worked this land.
Perhaps he meant his ancestors,
before things were given names.
When caverns did not mean deliverance and
rocks did not mean agony and longing.
My grandson is not dead, he says.
In the board are names,
a list of unfulfilled promises.
He helps where he can, removing
artifacts buried in dirt, detritus,
and decay. There a blanket, here a
pair of slippers, tracing on them a boy’s
face with his calloused fingers.