The months are centuries of waiting,
constant, feverish, relentless.
Two long distance calls per day
Are not sufficient to break the barriers
Between distant spaces defined by my absence
In your ever-present waiting
For the dependable phone to ring
A hello, and then a goodbye
You do not want to say
The way you refuse to put down
The machine first to declare
Another victory of Time dissolving between us.
It is not so, and the seeded signs of pretense
From my own end is the same impostor
Of a poet writing prosaic claims about a world
Made up of decent, wise words.
With the small fingers of a last born to guide you
Which month is going to close the gap
Between my sending the box with the gifts
Of dolls and dearly written small notes
On Post-Its to mark who owns the books
Of laughter and lingering loneliness
You rattle off the possibilities of airplanes
Coming in earlier than usual as a matter
Of belief. And then of course the verdict:
Christmas you are never around
New Year you are never to be found
While we all light candles with their light
We let the firecrackers drive away the worries
Of the year that comes too soon.
You could have joined the rest of the family party
To pick me up with my sense of missing everyone
At the appointed time of return.
But the swine flu scared your mother's wits
And declared that staying home is God's grace.
I miss the Jollibee burger steak at the airport,
You protest, as you always do for the last six years
Even as you fight for your right
To be the first to wrap your skinny hand
On your father's tired neck.
At all the Skype sessions are the promises to keep:
You be good, you be good, in God's name,
You will be great. I take that to include myself.
The hours stretch so long when the centuries
Of absence dissolves into minutes.
Even the airline food, served with hesitation
As well as regret, does not taste as good
As a young daughter's dream of a burger steak.
You land, if only to freeze time, in the two months
That you warm your heart to the old place.
But you are poised to leave, as is the case
And in the faraway places of your dreams
You can only utter the prayer of relief,
The one that comes soon to mark
The end of absences, the beginnings of presence.
A Solver Agcaoili