Salubong

On Easter morning, the town gathers to watch
            a girl they've chosen to play the announcing

angel zipline above their heads from the church
           loft to the altar steps. She wears a white dress

and a trembly flower halo, and cardboard wings
           that droop instead of flutter on each side of the wire 

harness. It's an honor to be chosen for this part; after all,
           there are more poultry boys and swineherds here 

than heavenly messengers. Perhaps it isn't surprising
           how such a story takes root in a country of farmers 

and fisherfolk, in villages where songs are made about
           the long and thankless labor of planting rice, making

thatched-roof houses, giving the best of the harvest
           to the landlords who let them live on a tiny corner

of the land. The egg is a thing produced by animals in sheds 
           filled with straw and sand, the particular chemistry 

produced by sulfur and dust, pellets and feed. Each 
          faintly craquelated orb: gathered and counted,

not simply to be expended in a game where they're hidden 
          then rolled in the grass by city children in Sunday frocks.  

As the angel hovers, she opens her mouth to sing refrains
          of hallelujahs. What a marvel they're all alive, after seasons 

alternating hurricanes and drought.  What an idea: to move 
         toward the repeated promise of life that simmers under

the surface, like a volcano waking up to remind everyone
         of a heaven blue as a curtain beyond its perfect cone.




~ Salubong, meaning "to meet" (Tagalog/Filipino)

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