The Early Hours Wake You Up

The early hours wake you up.
You have your second set
of clothers folded
and your memories,
brief and tangential,
are kept in the closet
there to rest for a while
in repose and quiet
until you get back
to quicken their unfolding
unraveling before the dawn
is over.

It is the hour before
the rooster crows
and you drink of your cup
this brew, your first for the day,
quickening your steps
from here to there
in the darkness of a moonless
morning. The sturdy fan,
old and rattling, breaks
the silence you try
to keep in your father's
heart even as you see
your children dam what feelings
of leaving and separation,
again and again, they have got.

This is our life now,
this intermittent life
of impermanence on holidays
we use as an alibi to come home
to roost and imagine
that life lived away from all these
is the destiny of citizens
who look to blessings
from somewhere else.

There is not much over here,
that we need to see. Small betrayals
of the homeland can come from here
even as we raise our hands
to profess fidelity to our new land.

Even then, we send whatever love
we can to the temples of our heart:
in boxes and boxes we stack
whatever care we can define
while we eke it out in some
kingdom come.

Marikina, Metro Manila

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