St Basil at Six

(For Rev. Fr. Efren Villanueva, migrant, friend,

and classmate I bumped into in Los Angeles

after 22 years of not meeting up)

Tonite, we tell tall tales of the lies

We learned, lived through all along

This Los Angeles boulevard. We share

The same tales, their titles our hopes,

Their plot the greed of lilac loves

In lavenders and bricks and browns.

Here, in these streets and sidewalks

And pavements we make a pack

With evil without signing up in a blood

Compact. Over tofu and fish and kimchi,

We swap stories, all sorts, spices

In between sipping the soup piping

Hot in our broken hearts. We know

Better now, much better now, we migrants

From pilgrim islands. Lilac ladies,

Lilac men, lilac loves: they all come

In all shapes and sizes and kinds

To pray on stone angels, pray for

Us and then, and then, prey on us.

Aurelio S. Agcaoili

St Basil Church, Wilshire, LA


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