You glimpse her in the window as the bus/rolls by— lit end of her cigar
poised in her mouth, eyes scanning/the day for what warmth it will bring.


They will come home today, I know that.
It is the coldest morning this month.

That’s when they come and feast on my
rice cakes, that’s when they come.

They will build a little manger in the grove,
out of banana stalks and dried leaves.

Look at that, I burned my lips with the lit end
of my cigar. Could be an omen. Who is ill?

Great Kannoyan, god of my fathers, protect
my little ones, I need them to come home.

On this cold morning, I hope I could share
brewed rice coffee with them before I go.

— Albert B. Casuga