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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.

Friday, May 2, 2014


She got curious about palmistry once:
I wagered she could not read my palms.
How much time will I have? Life line.
How much time do we have? Heart line.
How long will I hold on to my mind?

All of the lines end inside my open palm,
they have no story to tell. She dropped
my limp hand on her lap and said: You
are right, I could not read it. Could not?
Would not? Palm readers often clam up.

They would rather keep the dark where
they belong: inside bottomless darkness.
At sundown, on my hammock hour, I
look at my palms again, peer at them
against the waning glow. Did she know?

I open and close them wondering
what sound they would make if they
could, and quickly learn that old fingers
crackle then release weakly into open
palms, like a flower, or a needy heart:

I close them tightly now upon my chest
and pray that I could hold on fast
to even these leftover remembrances
now slipping through my flaccid fingers
like sand, like love when I was not looking.

---Albert B. Casuga


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