Tara Santelices

Antonia Marina “Tara” Santelices, a political science graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University, is still confined at The Medical City after being shot in the head in a jeepney holdup on Aug. 6, the eve of her 23rd birthday. Inquirer, Oct. 12/08

come, tara,
come rise 
with the sun

each day is
a beginning 

of the daily
tumult of war 
we keep deep
in our soul 

as it is, 
let the hospital
bed rise too 

with the early dawn
newly-born sun
its morning offering
sliver through 
your awaiting window

and a new day 
breaks through
and delivers 
God's blessing
at your door 

we keep 
the prayer

we keep 
the faith 

we keep 
the wish

that in your sleep
you will find rest

and in your rest
you will keep 

the one hope 
that lives 

and you will 

all those who seek
the healing 
of their wounds

the penultimate 
for their bodies
now warmed
by the touch
of our absences

we live in a land
with not much
this you know

and you forgive
you will forgive

abundance is 
at the bottom 
of our hearts

and we grieve
for those 
in whose name
we are saved

from the evils
of evenings 
like the one 
you had

they mark
the coming
of our years 

more as we 
keep the hope

but the hoping 
comes late
at a standstill
some of the time
such as this one
you have got

we do not know

we cannot tell

we run after 
the fighting words
that empower us

to deliver us 
from disgrace

to redeem us 
from this hell
that is us

i am a father, 
you see

you could have been
my daughter
as in this tragedy
all fathers 
are your fathers
all mothers 
are your mothers
all sisters
are your sisters
all brothers
are your brothers

this kinship 
is ours in common

like leaving 
in all its forms

you leaving us 

so we pause 
for some sacred 
when we need 

to pray some more

we read you, 
we see you

and the papers tell us
of your mother, 
her grief

that of a universe 
gone so heavy

a volcano erupts 
in her chest

on her shoulders, 
narrow and frail
is the weight of days

she watches 
over you,
your mother

she watches 
the months 
go by

and love 
is her name

and patience 
is her name

the mother 
of your joy

and your time 
passes by

from afar, in exile,
we send you 
and the words 
that heal

A Solver Agcaoili
Hon, HI/Oct 11/08

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