Islander in the City by Pablo A. Tariman:


Sunrise in the island after a strong typhoon.
Photo: Floyd Evangelista Flores

What’s with the 9th of May

In our lives?


I meant to wake up early

On a Monday

To welcome a whiff

Of air

Called deliverance.


I decided I would do laundry

Tire myself

And struggle with the chores

At the clothesline.


Later in the day

I realized

My grandson and I

Had to cast our votes

For the first time together.


I couldn’t figure out

Why there was heaviness

In the air

As soon as we got

The blue ink

On our forefingers.


My grandson and I

Walked our way home

Hoping against hope

For better days.


But then I could feel

Heaviness in the air.

Early into the night

I stared into nothingness

As the unwelcome news

Became virtual reality.


We cherished

The good in our hearts

Hoping against hope

For deliverance.


After a hopeful Monday

Came the bloody Tuesday.

They are back!

And sumptuous

Days are here again!


It will take time

To process the pain

Of betrayal.


I couldn’t look

At my grandson

Straight in the eye

He who

Voted for the first time.


I am looking

At my last decade

And figuring out

A season of blight

For my grandson.


The dark forces his mother fought

Are back with a vengeance

On the 9th of May.


She was born

On the 29th of May

Which would have been

Her 43rd year.


But on the 9th of May

We buried our hope


I see petals falling

On the casket

Of our dream.

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