It will always be June, the monsoon croons—
Scarves of fog wrapped around your throat,
evening a coat so easily slipped on.
Yellowing paint on the sides of the old
City Hall, duck’s egg vendors calling
into the humid streets.
Beneath the weeping willows, a group
of loose-pantalooned grandfathers
slowly windmilling arms
in Single Whip. Last time you walked
around the lake, you missed the shoe-
shine boys, their wooden
boxes stuffed with rags and polish.
The bicycle rental boys flick spent cigarettes
into the pitimini bushes. Oh barely
perceptible drift of hours, shadows that lean
from tree to tree then fringe the lake’s blue edges:
if you don’t think a hundred years changes
the character of a place, ask the first five
strangers you meet in the plaza to tell you
how to get from there to Atok or Kapangan.
There are music schools now in every strip mall;
and rows of silent windows in the old convent
from which piano scales used to pour at dusk.
~ after Eugene Gloria