OFW in the rubble

Body of Pinay worker in Haiti recovered from rubble of supermarket
P. Lee-Brago, Philippine Star, Feb 9, 2010

We are the collateral damage
to all that happens in the home country.

We go to the far reaches
of hope even in places we do not know

on ground we stand on, still and shifting
and we can not hold our old fears.

We are desperate and poor, too, in these lands,
even if the pregnant promise is far better

than the gift of empty miracles by saints
in stone churches in our blighted cities.

In this Port-au-Prince of death,
we are as poor as where we come from.

Now this flawed city has lost its
will to come alive, and in this rubble

we come to dig all what we can
with our bloodied hands until life

comes around to say of us
we who come from a nation's ruins

that for centuries and centuries
and until now have remained so

our people dead, dying or in the diaspora
and our bodies interred in destination lands.

There is the quick promise of earthquake
and we came, and we will come.

There is no stopping this going away.
It is our life now, even if we die

while dreaming of going home
dying to go back but cannot.

We ask: What is it that moved us to go
away into this place of prayer. faith,

and coup d' etat like our own
where we tinker with the cross

and the novena and do the jazzy blues
to while our way our broken lives?

And now this body, and another
we are looking for, two and some others

that will never go back to its own earth
there to await the decay that blesses.

Hon, HI

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