Niyebe

“…what kind of night
began as a cell” ~ D. Bonta

~ In memoriam, Vivencio Raymundo

Tonight, a snowfall
beginning to cover the sidewalk,
outlining the branches of the twin
Japanese maples in front.

Patches of white erasing the dark
slate of roofs, one after the other
along the avenue— until each
is as a blank waiting

to be filled. In the yard, mounded
tops of hedges— like trays of rice
cakes on platters of leaf. The radio
warns of ice on roads and bridges.

I think of Gogol’s story
about the poor clerk Akaky;
remember how, in my class
once, a student who had not

read the assignment mumbled
from the depths of his seat:
What’s the big deal? It’s only
an overcoat.
I wheeled around

in an almost rage, said
something about words and lives
meaning more than allegory.
What is it about the cold

that makes everything feel
so distant? It’s almost like
we have to light fires
in our very hands.

Niyebe: Snow [Filipino]

 

In response to Via Negativa: In/mates.

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