Letter to the Street Where I Grew Up (City Camp Alley, Baguio City)

This entry is part 13 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

Dear alley bent like an L, shaped like an old
god’s crooked elbow, decorated with clotheslines
heavy with wash— Nearly thirty, I skidded down
your last few meters in reverse, learning to drive
a stick shift and nearly knocking over the island
of trash bins swarming with tribes of blue-black
flies. The neighbors came to their front steps
to heckle and hoot, disturbing the chickens
kept in rusted cages in each yard: the way
they carried on with cackling, you’d think
there was an egg thief in the trees. Almost
a lifetime since I’ve left, but still I see the vivid
verdigris of rusted roofs, the graveled lane
where children sat in empty lading boxes,
then tilted themselves into the wind—
And so have I. Years later, I startle
from sleep or wakeful dream, thinking
the dwarf yellow sun brings artifacts
from that other time: a map, directions
written in code by unfaithful gods.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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