Amianan, Abagatan*

In summer, when I crack 
the windows open, sometimes
I imagine the night jasmine
pulling threads of scent
from far away.

It's been years
since my mother put the Virgin
in my hand and closed her fingers
around mine, wishing me good
journeys: my dark, palm-sized
plaster Madonna, in a skirt
belled and blue.

Fade of gold
crowning her head, one of
dozens on the sidewalk
at the entrance to the church
in Antipolo, sold with prayer beads
and vials of blessed oil.

Humid winds blew
across the water, stirring
the breadfruit trees. Like
the galleon El Almirante, they
could billow a sail across the sea.

* North and South, in Ilocano

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