A different world, we sigh; was it a different world
back then when we could walk to school,
children unescorted in their going or coming, never
doubtful of our ability to return? Past alleys,
entrances to dingy buildings where workers
folded chairs and vendors unpacked their wares: fool’s
gold, common cotton, cabbages, maps to Yamashita’s treasure
hidden in the hills— In summer heat and through
infinity of monsoon seasons, this was the only world.
Jump rope and jack stones, the melted wax we rolled,
keeping the droppings from candles lit at altar and tomb.
Light years away, it seems easy to slide the filmstrip of
memory along the viewfinder: bike lanes in the park,
names of native flowers painted on signs of streets.
Only the unhurt could truly romanticize it all.
Poor travelers adrift on a perilous shore,
quartered in homes not ever our own—
Remember for what new currency we exchanged the
secret fire we left with, burned?
There’s nothing that could take its place.
Unmoored from our beginnings, we
voyage forward still:
wistful postulants,
exiles from that faded postcard paradise that
years have archived in dusty envelopes we
zipper open and shut.


In response to Via Negativa: Messenger.

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