Small Animals

…where ancient waters gathered in basins
beneath the trees, developers have sent

their armies of earth-movers.
—Luisa A. Igloria, “Anything that might sustain

in our village, the trees are young
the older ones were axed or bulldozed
more than fifteen summers ago
to make way for duplexes
and similar vacation houses

we are not summer tenants
but live here from season to season
through each monsoon and strong moon tides
when the paucity of foliage and trees leaves us
as vulnerable as small animals
with nowhere to hide

but the pine grows convoluted and hardy roots
soon the saplings the gardener
entrusts to the earth
are taller than my adult daughters
but this is fifteen years later

so why did the heavy equipment
operators and bulldozers
destroy the sturdy ancient trees
in the first place to shelter
transient humans?

Jane Likha Yatco, who signs her poems as “J Likha Yatco,” also writes occasional prose. Her poems have been published in these anthologies: Surges: Outpourings in Haiyan/Yolanda’s Wake, a literary and visual anthology edited by Joel P. Garduce and Rosana Bautista Golez; Verses Typhoon Yolanda: A Storm of Filipino Poets, edited by Eileen R. Tabios; and Fairground: A Literary Feast, edited by Gemino H. Abad and Alma Cruz Miclat. Her poems were first uploaded as Facebook and Google+ notes.

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