TWO POEMS: BAGUIO ON MY SHOULDERS
1. A Shawl on a Pine Tree Branch
You left that shawl on a pine tree branchwhere I etched your name so you will return
to see it grow with the tree. But you did not.
It does not matter. You wear that old cityon your shoulders like that green shawl
I still keep in a wood chest carved in Ifugao.
Its ridges, its sunsets, its clay soil, the rocksshrouded now by sunflowers jutting through
cracks and crevices lining the zigzag roads,
the halloo of the terrace gleaners burstinginto song at sundown, all sounds echoing
through those mountain rims and alleys
in the city, the Indian bazaars, the roadsidebars, the cathedral overlooking the city like
a muezzin singing from his minaret, its belfry
our lighthouse, a beacon from the lowlandrefuge of white beaches and emerald seas,
are still redolent of evergreen pine leaves.
I know you keep them now in the eyesof your children, in their laughter, and sighs
when you draw the city’s face over your heart.
---Albert B. Casuga
2. Heartaches Among Windy Spaces
But the summers of our pine cityrefuge have come and gone, too,
with our windy spaces, now left
as frozen wind tunnels when you
abandoned the cone-strewn trails
for your will-o’-the-wisp: a full
bowl of nectar laced with laughter.
By the time you fill up to the brim,You’d have coughed up sediments
of crushed stones, jagged pebbles
and the craw-sticking bone chips
that remain from downstream
sieving for the one golden nugget
that was never there. You thirst still.
---ALBERT B. CASUGAPoems Revised 05-19-2014
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