This is the year in which we come to know 
about edible spoons and forks made not from 
plastic but millet or wheat or rice in India; that you 
could take a slow container ship to travel 28 days 
from Europe to Pasir Gudang,  Hakata, Incheon, 
                 and Manila. Keep brown grocery bags, 
turn the cardboard seams of cereal boxes 
inside out; iron last year's glossy printed 
gift papers so you're never out of mailing 
supplies. In 1898, Commodore Dewey 
defeated the Spanish fleet in the Battle 
                 of Manila Bay. A young man from New 
Jersey, one of 13,000 American soldiers deployed
in Cavite, wrote home in a letter: It's strange 
that we're here because, as far as we're concerned, 
the battle against the Spanish has been won at sea. 
This winter, we'll have to learn all over again 
                  how not to be the envelopes that new mutations 
of a virus could slip into. Wars never end, do they? 
Lethal doesn't only mean the number of dead 
or dying. Look at the boys on the playground, 
pocketing the shiny marbles they won 
by knocking out the others from the circle. 

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