by Jonel Abellanosa

The morning’s speaker talks about
moments of loss, but you’re here
in this retreat of bamboo and nipa
to remember and compose
grief’s letter.

After lunch you linger by the well.
It’s easy to see how stillness
repeats the sky, how water
can turn pebble into an eye.
You recall your father show
that hills have a voice.
You call out his name, and smile.

The lady calls for afternoon session to start
but odd and even lines are rhyming.
You sit under the dovecote. A stray wind
spreads a jolt of carabao dung, crackles
firewood. The tree sends a greeting
Of leaves to the passing stream.
You sense grasses parting, glad your
turn doesn’t conjure your fear.

Three more lines as the bonfire begins,
the star-attended singing and sharing.
The darkness inside reminds
of what your father did after drinking:
you’d stagger and stir kitchen smells and sounds
and be gone by the time I mouse like
wake hungry and reach that part of the house.

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