It feels as if we've been absent for a month. They're not counting my absences anymore. I just realized that Christmas is just around the corner.
Mariannet Amper, at twelve years old, dead, PDI, Nov 7, 2007
How do your resurrect dreams, dear daughter
of moons and melancholic heart? In Maa, your city
in Davao is for the moneyed as it is always the case
everywhere. It is the same over here, you see,
with men, women, and children without homes
while some others stalk the crevices desire without
any name in nooks of the night, their dollars
and searching hands looking for ropes
to tie their sorrows with. They do not grow
despondency on trees at Aala Park, but here
too are our poor with their bowls, hands outstretched
in the air as if in supplication like the leaves
of the banyan that grow in profusion
as if they are accounting all there is to account.
At twelve, you are dead, the paper says.
But how could you have left the world
with such urgency? You did not watch your dream
grow wings and then fly away to Tokyo
to dance and charm and vend what flesh
can command plus the studies hands and their
capacities for caress whether the faces are those
of the dead or those about to call it quits in life.
You do know how the priest and the bishop
and the pope cry in lamentation, their grief combined
like those of days of downpour that visited us
these last few days we could not see the sunlight.
And then this news about you: we do not know
how things came to an end but you have your letters,
sacred in their longings, their music our dirge.
In peace as in the quiet of the grave.
A Solver Agcaoili
UH Manoa/Nov 7, 2007