High Noon in the Storm


 It glares, the light
streaming in constant fluid wonder
on the window glass,
a corporeal thing
that wails. Bewildered as a child,
you gape
in restive silence at the tempest,
thinking of tales of gods and war, and when the wind would finally win the battle against rooftops and trees.
The sound of the skirmish is thick.
Then, the keening of a breaking tree,
pained and brilliant and vast,
stretches across your rain-drenched world. It falls defeated and dignified on the street, the corpse of a primeval witness whose arms still reach to the sky. A tingle of cold runs through your spine, as the light, a corporeal thing that wails, streams in fluid wonder on the window glass.

* * *


“Let me sing you a song,” it says. “A long- forgotten dirge.”
And it follows you
all morning long, humming hymns in your mind.
There, in a crowd waiting
in the rain,
you hum along, knowing full well how the fog
will mark you like an exile,
mark you with its
frigid fingers. It slithers,
along with the slight
whisper of a damp wind.
Scenes shift before you
in variations of grey, and the fog,
like some ghostly choir,
like a conference
of sprites, stands vanguard,
then obliterates
into a deeper wall of pale
morning rain.
You hum along, watching
the rain dissolve and
turn once again into
an unmoving wall
of colorless, un-remembering fog. “Let me sing you a song,”
it says, the song sticking
in your mind like a stain, a recollected dirge,
and you are exiled in a waiting crowd, weaving
the Baguio fog into song,
and people passing you by
in white silhouettes.

* * *


He takes her to a viewless room
in a gaudy motel along the highway.
He asks, “It’s okay, isn’t it?”
As she wonders
what it is he was asking, instead,
she takes him to her soul,
and regret is a pure white sheet
defiled with reverent intents forgotten
and strewn in a corner somewhere
in a gaudy motel, in a viewless room.
She tells him, “Okay,” and smells, strangely,
of the milky substance of torn heart.


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