At sixteen she worked the fields and brought the guitar
home before Tatay did the carabao, albino albeit it was.
Portent of idyll, they said, till the big war came
and Japanese soldiers marched everyone a long way
for over three godless years. They sheltered maidens
like her. She was bronze, a statue impaled on a hard bed
before which trooped a long line in patient conquest.
Faint of heart of peace, she grew old erasing parts
of memory. Learned to give herself again, to tenderness
of family, of children who knew nothing of her twice-torn
youth. Serial were her prayers for silence. But history
ever the rogue multiplied between the knees of bounty
would not have it otherwise. Old woman of broken
words, her name caresses an Emperor's silent reverie.
© Alfred A. Yuson