Roda of our Redemption

Before the encounter, a gunshot was heard. Father Roda’s body was found bathed in his own blood. He died on the spot, Goltiao said in the AP report. Inquirer Mindanao Bureau, Jan. 17/08

It is martyrdom like this that we remember.
Witnessing it is this dying in sacrifice,
blood bathing you on cold cement
afterwards, with but the air you breathe
leaving you as soon as it can. Was it in the head
that the bullet ricocheted through, spilling
the brains in that head that knows
so much love? First, the story coming alive
in this oblation we call your history now,
your tragedies congregating to remind us
that once there was you and the men
before you, flesh on decay on the ground
that ate you up becasue: (one),
there are murderers of saving dreams and (two),
some can be on the ready to let go
of what this life and this earth can offer
so that, (three), more can be had from all these
nothingness that consume us all,
believers and those who believe something else.
The names come in whispers now:
Tulio Favali the foreigner,
and then you brethren of the cloth:

Rudy Romano (where is he now, he disappeared
in the shadows of the Marcos regime, with that famous
promise for a clean break with the rich
so that the new rulers can corner the best?)

Ortega of Bakun (did his severed head go back
to the rotten body while the dancing of the kaniaw went
on to appease the anitos of the dead?)

Balweg of Abra (was his political theology
something deep the killers do not understand
resonance of thought and words
and that sanctity that goes
with music and song and sadness
of injustice?)

How much more of blood in drums and drums
of them would be needed to keep the peace
and the quiet of our souls, we children
of the faith, children of murders, killers,
thieves, pretenders, cheats, politicians,
and careerist priests and clerics?

Our lives are conflicted. Yours define
the mysteries of the things
we hardly understand.

But let us go on, let us go on,
with your death. The living comes after it.

A Solver Agcaoili
Hon, HI
Jan 16/08

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