A Father from Cavite Serves Crispy Chicken to his Children

It was a news out of the edges of the Fil-Am/Fil-Im papers.

The children had a hearty late dinner, the skin crisp,

The meat succulent as in a dream of first feast.

Go on, the father says, the paternal tone and temper

One of rare care, the cheers difficult to bear.

It was one of those days of want and struggle, the same

That we migrant workers know no less, with winter

Coming early in summer, the official declaration

Giving us chill, cold feet, the uncertainty of quarters,

Cents and dimes we sometimes pick from dirty pavements,

Curbs, the sides of concrete containers for refuse,

The waste of dark days and plastic loves we offer

To all but ourselves, us reading the fates of fathers,

The luckless luck of children picknicking on disaster.

The morning came, the news says, the early hours.

There was not a second to say a goodbye beyond

The bloody stares equal to that dawn breaking.

The father imagines the moment of calm after fullness

The burping a sound long forgotten now coming back.

Sige anak, sige pa, magpakabusog, saluhin ang grasya,

Saluhin ang grasya ng mga diyos, saluhin ang bendisyon,

Pagsaluhan natin ang espiritu ng pagpahintulot.

But the news was out of the edges of sin and tempest,

The one we die with, the one we make peace with.

The children had a full late meal, the skin of the chicken crisp.

At the early hours of praise two children are dead.

Aurelio S. Agcaoili

Los Angeles, CA

Nov. 1, 2004

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