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ALBERT B. CASUGA, a Philippine-born writer, lives in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, where he continues to write poetry, fiction, and criticism after his retirement from teaching and serving as an elected member of his region's school board. He was nominated to the Mississauga Arts Council Literary Awards in 2007. A graduate of the Royal and Pontifical University of St. Thomas (now University of Santo Tomas, Manila. Literature and English, magna cum laude), he taught English and Literature (Criticism, Theory, and Creative Writing) at the Philippines' De La Salle University and San Beda College. He has authored books of poetry, short stories, literary theory and criticism. He has won awards for his works in Canada, the U.S.A., and the Philippines. His latest work, A Theory of Echoes and Other Poems was published February 2009 by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House. His fiction and poetry were published by online literary journals Asia Writes and Coastal Poems recently. He was a Fellow at the 1972 Silliman University Writers Workshop, Philippines. As a journalist, he worked with the United Press International and wrote an art column for the defunct Philippines Herald.

Monday, February 28, 2011

THE APOTHECARY (A Prompted Poem)


Abuela, she of the magic tales and prayer,
prescribed bowls of garlic for all ailment and sundry:
reason enough for her to till a large plot of this clove,

seasoning not only the day’s repast but also
our old home where---without that distinct scent---
no one would truly be home. O, grandmother,

in your eternal garden where your enchanted
hammock must dangle between the tallest oaktrees,
send this ill Earth some crescent cloves, crush them,

and gently wrap them around the hearts of men
who have, like Cain, cavalierly killed their brothers,
fathers their daughters, mothers their sons and lovers.

Mamita, in our yard, three stalks of garlic have kept
their heads above the snow in what is now a long
and cruel winter. In garlic we trust, abuela querida.

—Albert B. Casuga
Mississauga, Ont. 02-27-11

The prompt for this poem is "found" in the following images:

Three stalks of garlic in the yard have kept their heads throughout this long winter, seasoning the snows. The distant fluting of geese. ---Dave Bonta, The Morning Porch, 02-27-11 (

1 comment:

Hannah Stephenson said...

I love how this ends with "In garlic we trust." It is so sweet but not overly so--very, very heartfelt and articulate.