Mariannet's Father

We never knew that our daughter had dreams for us.
Reynald Amper, PDI, Nov 7, 2007

Children think of our dreams of hearty meals
as time ticking and telling us to go create
more and more of them. The food on the table

is prima facie proof of God's favors.
Day and night are made of those:
Christmasses, for instance, that speak

of gifts and apples, red and shiny, appealing
to the guts who do not know what good partaking is,
not in the abundance we have in the places where we bury

grace before the meal. We do not recite them
no more. We have a lot of excess and we throw them away
so we cannot see the face of our lack of kindness.

It is something that comes with the turf,
the territory of those who think of the good life
in simple terms, like a hundred pesos for a project

in school to hide what is to hide. Hunger, for instance.
Or the pain of knowing that tonight, tonight,
the stomach grumbles and the water, the water

from some dingy well comes to the rescue.
And then the father declares: "We did not know!
We did not know that the dear daughter

had dreams for us and we did not have the money
to pursue them, the dreams, the dreams, the dreams."
Who could ever know what faith there is

in boiled rice that is the stuff of a daughter's hope?
or shoes? or the remembrance of the coming of the Savior
on a cross, the same one she bears all day, this dead

dreamer of a daughter of a father who did not know
what thin nylon ropes can offer to fragile necks
and courage? Twelve years of giving witness to what oblation

can lead you to is enough. We can only have so much
of pain to live until it gnaws at the soul and say
your farewell to clerics, like this one who declaims:

"We are all to be blamed for her death!"
But there is gold and diamond and lies, father,
bishop, monsignor, reverend, and sir

in the misgivings of those who cannot give.
The hundred peso-bill, with its dead hero
came in too late. Now, we put in some more of those

to buy all the flowers we can buy for the dead.
Let the flowers wilt and die too soon in vases as well,
their deaths away from the plants giving them respect.

A Solver Agcaoili
UH Manoa/Nov 7, 2007

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