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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.

Sunday, February 9, 2014



(For Marisa Keiko, aka Sofia)

1. Coming to the Water

Wriggling and wailing as hard as she could,
our wee one had to have a say in this dousing.
The water on her head cleanses her of sin
she did not commit yet visited upon innocents
who are now enlisted in a continuing holy war
waged against serpents unknown---tall orders
bruited to spread the much deferred coming
of the warrior who will trample all the wicked
with his terrible swift sword, truth and wrath
his tandem of a battle cry that may yet be lost
before the struggle is over, staying alive a chore
of the weak and the lonely who have conceded
early in this hunt that one is not the hunter
anymore than the befuddled hunted in woods
fencing in what pretends to be the lost garden.
Her soulful cry is promising: she will not be coy.

2. Devoutly Wished

Have you made your wish yet?
She said it was the thing to do
Upon setting foot on a church
One has not visited nor prayed in.
He complied, kneeling at an altar
Peopled by images known to him
When he was a happy lad praying:
Please make them live forever,
To catch me when I fall, to love me
When loving has gone out of style.

3.  An Offering

To leave an extra plate for one not there:
Mother perfected that ritual when he left.
There was no returning, but what of it?

He will be here at sundown. "Your father
Is always prompt. The raw dinakdakan
Will spoil if he did not come on time."

She waited, but it took so long. She slept.
Wrapped in her flannel blanket, she knew
She’d have enough warmth for both of them.


02/09/14 Las Pinas City

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