Service

(MacArthur Memorial & Museum, Norfolk)

Behind glass, away from salt-
trimmed air: the General's silver 
service in a velvet-lined box. 
Silver spoons, heavy-handled knives, 
tapered forks. I wonder about the servant 
described only as most loyal: how did he 

carry all this through the streets 
as Manila fell to rubble, as horses 
splintered in panic from carriages, 
as bombs dropped from the sky to anoint 
the waters of the bay with flame? Did he
dig a hole under a balete tree, under 

a caimito; then return one moonless 
night in peacetime with a quiet shovel? 
It appears that not one piece is missing. 
It appears he wanted to return this to  
his master--- The word in the vernacular 
is Amo: like love. But different. 



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