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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.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Diana Patricia Casuga-Dy, Grandchild #1

(For Diana Patricia Casuga-Dy, Grandchild #1)

1. Lover, Healer, Daughter

A milestone, or a millstone. Her search
For passion and fun requires a distinction.
One negates the other. Knowing her need
And finding what fulfills it---touchstones.
From these turnpikes, she will find home.
Her joy is to serve and heal all afflictions
As she has done to all that drag her down,
And she is happy now. She needs to love.

Did she, will she find her one true passion?
If she has not, she has shaped a millstone
To pull her into yet uncharted dark holes,
The abyss whence she has pulled anchors,
Cast aweigh so she could fly in a span of sky
Gods have assigned as endless corridors
For her flights as lover, healer, a daughter.

2.  A Crowning Milestone

Here she is, scarcely departed in my eye
As the restless infant playing sleepover
At Lolo and Lola’s ocean of a sandbox bed,
Laughing at the start of a quiet lullaby,
Frantically wailing: I wanna go mommy.
Home. "Love," the tired abuela hugs her.
"It is two in the morning. Still sleep time."

She would fall back sobbing, but mornings
Would find her yammering over pancakes
How when she grows big, she will take care
Of  her, Lola and Lola, Sleep in your big bed
and make you good, and strong, and happy.
How can this not be her crowning milestone?

3.  Finding the Dream Patient

Leave-takings are longer now with a healer
Hugging this dotard of an old man: Lolo,
Have your heart repaired again, this time
With a bovine’s valve; the porcine’s tissue
Gave you a good decade and more. Quizzas,
You might even make the century mark.
I will take care of you. I will be with you.

Like that night when she wanted to go home
To her mommy, he kissed her gently again,
And whispered: “Why, Love, I did not know
That I had a bright nurse who is also in search
For her dream patient. I am yours then.
Dream patient or not, I might even ask for soup.
O, you can also cup my heart, hush it, heal it."

Mississauga, June 17, 2014

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