What passes for us

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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.







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