Now that You Ask

For Bruno on Good Friday

I sat on a gray stone bench
ringed with the ingenue faces
of pink and white impatiens
and placed my grief
in the mouth of language,
the only thing that would grieve with me.
(Lisel Mueller in “When I Am Asked”)

what do you do when the irreplaceable dies?
for he didn’t just pass on, pass away or gently
move to another realm. he died. can i be more blunt?
one moment he was cradled on my sister’s chest,
he, looking up, worshipping her face with his faded eyes,
next moment the throb of his heart stopped.

i being distant while the drama unfolded,
i imagined her letting out a silent scream
of anguish as her familiar died. yes, he died,
let us not beat around the bush. we cannot
kid ourselves by saying he is just a a dog,
a pet. we can always acquire another.

how many of them we have buried in the
backyard after they were loved to bits?
how many of them have sweetened the earth
there where the avocado, rambutan, jackfruit
grow & give us fruits to feed us on days
like this when human mourning is beyond
understanding & bearing.


Elizabeth “Babeth” Lolarga
Elizabeth “Babeth” Lolarga
Elizabeth “Babeth” Lolarga finished journalism and fine arts at the University of the Philippines. She wrote two books released by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House: Catholic and Emancipated (selected essays) and Moon Hanging Low Over My Window and Other Poems. A freelance journalist, the pandemic has turned her into a homebody.


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