~ after “Right Before The Hit, They Removed My Leash,” acrylic on paper by Ulysses Duterte Jr. (2016); scroll midway down the linked page to view an image of this painting.
~ especially for every child victim in Philippine extrajudicial killings/the “drug war”
An ordinary sky is the hypothesis
at the edge of a blue window riddled
with holes. I am every child that crawled
unassuming into a bandanna of light,
seeing only the smooth beveled heel
of a slingshot, a trampoline of mud
mixed with runoff from the gutter.
I did not fear the mastiff transfixed
on its leather halter, the marble glaze
in its eyes. How should we put the rest
of the equation together— the M-16’s
watery shadow as though affixed
to no hands, the tank idling on the corner?
Still we rise to the foreground, whom you
have the audacity to call innocents.
Let me undo every expectation of what’s meant
as a target. Watch me explode again and again
through each scene’s tearable fabric,
the milk around my mouth not yet dry:
unseen forces tethering me in the crosshairs,
taut as a laser pointed directly at my heart.