Round Mat #2

This entry is part 12 of 31 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2013


My friend in Villalimpia writes that the manugbanig, the women weavers in a village in Bukidnon, have made even more wondrous mats this time around: fronds dyed the colors of tamarind or camachile, siniguelas, turmeric, champaka.

She tells me she will send them to me and my sister-in-law in July through a friend traveling to a peace conference in northern Virginia: I only know his name is “Al.”

When I ask how to get the payment to the weavers, she tells me there is no hurry now, but we should plan for it to get to them in June, when they will use it to pay tuition for the weavers’ children.

Perhaps they go to school in the center of town, or in the city where there are internet cafes, department stores, malls, arcades, beer gardens, bowling alleys.

They might walk or they might take a tricycle or a jeepney or bus.

Some of them are still being taught how to do this work perfected by their mothers and grandmothers.

Their hands must learn to tell one leaf from another, how to grasp with strength but tenderness so as not to bludgeon the stalk; how to turn the hands into a shuttle flying through the tedious hours in the rainy months until the colors are palpable, acquire a distinct smell…

When you lie in the center of such a mat, sometimes it is hard to tell if you are in the center of an eddy or a wheel, or in the eye of a hurricane churning over the sea— mere speck suspended in history, which always precedes you.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← <em>Unto every one that hath shall be given;</em>Undertones →

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