TWO WOMEN : SUNDOWN TALES AND CANDLES*
For Abuela Dora (Sra. Dona Teodora Flores Casuga+)
All, all of those shadows that people
my stories, abuela, have their home
in your sundown tales. My poetry sings
still with the rhythm of your voice, images
have been shaped before in the pictures
you etched with your face and fingers.
They will not be blurred by old minds
fumbling with remembrances, recuerdos,
abuela, of all that you left to sprout
in the moist and porous soil of our hearts
and the wild moss peats of our minds,
and every word from my pen is your word.
CANDLES AND EMPTY ROOMS
For Inang (Sra. Dona Sotera Martinez-Buenaventura+)
If you were here, I would know where you
are: you would be by the gaping window
where the statue of the Sagrada Familia
would be, lighting candle stubs, striking
matchsticks endlessly until all are lit,
and only the sound of struck flint remained.
Soon, you would be wandering among empty
rooms, calling out for me to put on my church
clothes for a walk to the Iglesia and pray.
However hollow those vaults were, or inert
those icons looked, the walls would vibrate
with your intoned oracion, and I’d feel safe.
---ALBERT B. CASUGA
* If a writer thrives on a spiritual life, these two women, my patertnal and maternal grandmothers, were the wellsprings of that large portion of my life.