Inscrutable Sonnets

12

Everyone takes to the hills. And why not? The air is still
always cooler. Afternoons are shrouded with fog. Lowlanders take
their sweaters out of mothballs, pose for pictures at the pony trail.
Or they can don highland garb at the promontory overlooking what’s left
of silver and copper mines established in American colonial times. A work
force from many cultures carved access roads from sheer mountainsides—
Who wouldn’t stay, after such arduous toil? The future once nestled
like an oasis here. I remember Hindu shopkeepers, Chinese dim sum cooks,
the old Spaniard who put up an ice cream parlor and soda fountain; a Belgian
priest who left his order to marry the pharmacist. These days, the migrants
are mostly Korean, Japanese; they set up restaurants, send their children
to ESL classes. My ex- used to joke— for all we knew, there could be
a community of aging Nazis living out their days in some dusty highland
town: nothing and no one to answer to but councils of immoveable stone.

(Baguio City)

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