It could have been a first embrace foregone in a lost dance. She even wore a new pair of shoes from her OFW mother.
SCREAM: A MAGUINDANAO DIRGE*
She lost her rubber slippers in the mud when
Crackling mayhem scuttled their march to town
Ripping through their roaring revelry riding
East of the searing sun: 'Ibagsak si Ampatuan!'
Alive and raucous in their raspy throats, the raw
Mantra of venceremos quickly turned to wailing:
“She was on her way to the village school,
Carrying a new pair of shoes from her mother,
Rosa, who is an OFW in the States! Pobresita,
Eleanor, she needed clean shoes for the prom;
And, O, she laughed about our ragtag band
Marching to a funeral tune, its sole anthem beat.”
She will not find Simeon where she has gone,
Cut down, head cracked, and curled like a limp
Rag doll that could have been whipped away
Even from the tightest hold of a pining swain
Anxious and waiting in the now unlit schoolyard
Marking a first embrace foregone in a lost dance.
--- ALBERT B. CASUGA
* This poem is in collaborative response to the invitation to express rage over the Maguindanao Massacre, that took place in the Southern Philippines in November 2009. It is part of a collection of over a hundred poems collected online under the working title An Anthology of Rage.