The rain was pounding hard
when we buried Lolo Dodo
in the town’s public cemetery.
The folk paying him their last homage
quickly drew umbrellas, in various colors,
to conceal themselves from the hammering
drops they looked from above
After the long prayer and benediction
of the pastor, the sharp yelling
of my grandmother and aunts slivered
through the cold air. I was fourteen yet firm.
I was able to block the thorns of his death
from coming out of my mouth, my eyes.
The series of cobalt treatment did not help
my grandfather recuperate from cancer.
Standing beside my father, the eldest
of seven siblings, I saw his eyes fixed
at the casket of his Tatay
as if his look could resurrect the body.
We were the last to leave.
The rain had stopped
leaving murky water on the premises.
And upon reaching the exit,
my father told me to jump over the fire
stoked by those who went home early.
Its smoke would cast out evil spirits
and we would enter our home clean, he said.
RAUL G. MOLDEZ