THE ROAD TAKEN
There were no other roads to the potato patch
tilled by my abuela, feeding the whole cowering clan
while they hid in caverns cut through mountain
ridges enveloping the barrios where I was born.
Mop-up kempetai* squads roamed the hills,
but we were safe even from infants’ hungry puling.
No divine intervention this, God was hiding, too.
And the road they took had dead grass and gravel.
On either side of the path, there were burnt trees.
Bombed out nipa huts, freshly dug graves,—
and from the depths of the valley engulfed by hills,
a crow’s shrill cry echoed to mock the marauders.
We did not even need these winters.
—Albert B. Casuga
*Japanese occupation mercenaries rooting out Filipino guerrillas in their mountain sanctuaries. Ruthless, they did not take prisoners; they only left corpses on roadsides used as as their killing fields.
Winter on this side, winter on the other side, and in between the road’s dead grass and gravel. One crow cries, high and shrill.---Dave Bonta, The Morning Porch, 02-24-11 (http://www.morningporch.com/)