Pag-ahon/Ascent

~ After “Pag-ahon” (“Ascent”), Elmer Borlongan, 2011

O that the future were cuttlebone-
sleek as the front of this outrigger
canoe— sharp as the nib of a pen
unsullied by dragon-scale inks
and knifed sea-water. Out
of the deeps we lift and bend,
wearing the yoke of a single story
that links our lives. Maybe there is
a whorl like an eye in the wood, maybe
somewhere a tear in the sheet of copper
that heats almost to armor the skin
on our backs. When we open
our mouths for air, we look like fish
after they swim out of the foam
into the tired geometry of our nets.
At night, by the light of kerosene
lamps, we line our mouths and bellies
with the frugal salt of their charred
silver: a wedding performed over
and over. And still, the only bonds
to sound in our bones are those
that bell with the names of water: storms
battering these shores, each a jealous
lover reaching, not wanting to let go.

 

In response to Via Negativa: Burial at sea.

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