Zero buyers till now, for our old home in the middle of the city—
You wrote, too, how in the last monsoon, there was hardly a dry spot:
xerox copies of leaks in every room, even inside the closets.
When we first moved there in ’63, you said there was a frame of
varnished mahogany hanging in the foyer; a portrait,
unexpected— the former president of the Commonwealth,
tints brightening on dull canvas after dusting and
scrubbing lightly with a cloth. Where is it now? In those days,
rain also fell for months on end. The neighborhood below Rock
Quarry always flooded every year. Lining up for relief goods,
people shivered in queue at the barangay health center:
oil, rice, sardines, powdered or evaporated milk for babies.
No one knows when the area first came to be known as The Lagoon.
Mostly “squatters” there— meaning, people setting up homes on
land they did not own; they reasoned, who else would build there,
knowing how flood-prone and inhospitable it was each season?
Just think of that kind of transience, living in a danger zone.
I remember how we used to pull our mattresses into the living room,
huddle in the dark of power outages. Sans batteries, candles threw
garish shapes on walls as our hands put on puppet plays—
fanned-out butterfly wings, a bird, a dog’s barking head.
Evening stretched into the long uncertainty of night.
Do you remember how every sound was magnified?
Candle wax pooled on the floor and hardened.
Bright sweeps of sudden light from trucks on the road;
arcs of memory on a more interior windshield.
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.
OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES
- Rest Stop
- Ghazal, Between the Lines
- Ghazal, Beaded with Rain
- Night Heron, Ascending
- Derecho Ghazal
- Mid-year Ghazal
- Mortal Ghazal
- Landscape, with Chinese Lanterns
- Charmed Life
- What We’ll Remember
- Ghost of a pulse in the throat
- Throttle Ghazal
- Of Nectar
- Getting There
- Four-Way Stop
- Flood Alphabet
- The hummingbird isn’t the only bird
- A hawk circles over the ridge
- Rather than the tightening fist,
- Reversed Alphabet of Rain
- (poem temporarily hidden by author)
- Letter, to Order
- There’s a bird that comes
- September 1972
- Fire Drill