Mudfish between fingers, rice stalks...
whipped by whistling monsoon wind
on our thin backs, rain-pelted faces:
you cannot look back at them in anger.
But you do. You have lost them forever.
You can never be there again. Forever.
You will go back to the old schoolyard,
but you will not find the desk you carved
her name on, hearts, initials, arrows,
all gone from sandpapered desk tops,
dark paint covering the deepest cuts
like healed cankers, mended wounds,
scars of the rawest longing for the girl
who had the longest hair, wiliest smile,
cleverest excuses for going home late,
“O, we cleaned the blackboards and all.”
Are the moss-gowned shore boulders
still there? The rocks in whose crevices
you buried secret vows to always be there
for each other in this place, this town?
That tamarind tree in whose branches
your kite got caught, rended bamboo
ribs cracked you wept over until she
stilled your quivering shoulders in her
arms, is it still there between the hills
you named after her, body parts you
were too scared to call were like hers?
Does the tree still bear its tangy fruit?
There will be more questions. Will you
find the answers you need to go home?
You will even ask the trees, if you must,
but even they will no longer talk to you.
---Albert B. Casuga