[For Rommel Maitim and all survivors of Yolanda.]
I do not know where Yolanda is now. I cannot text her, I have no cellphone. Maybe she and Ondoy are together in the afterlife. I want to text her, ‘Don’t ever come back. You put me through a worse experience than Ondoy.–Rommel Maitim, a survivor of Yolanda and Ondoy
You cannot but face it, this death by the doorstep.
And you have made it to shore, and here, in these lines
Are the stories you wrested from the surge of the sea
Raging to take what it can, and then burying in its abyss.
There is lottery in life as in death. A numbers game, this,
And between sobs and the anguish of welcoming the morning
Is the question demanding an answer. And there is none
To wait for except to keep the laughter within, threatening
Threat itself in order to have the chance to live.
You held onto a tree trunk or flotsam or fear
And here you are telling us how how you managed
To float, your body the altar of courage with limits.
This birth of a child past Ondoy to welcome Yolanda
Is a syllable of hope, one at a time, until the breeze
Of the future comes back into the present to offer
Something better than what was in these thousand deaths.
Nov 17, 2013