Saturday, April 23, 2011

Poem #23

"Manila, May 1973: Immigrate"

She boards the plane
rice still stuck in her hair
turns and tosses the bouquet
to the crowd of family, weeping
even her new mother-in-law
who does not approve

She does not know
when they will return

Martial law tightens its grip
on the country's exit doors

She and her husband sit
in the exit row, poised
for a quick escape

There is crying everywhere
Someone lights a cigarette
Another unwraps a pastilla
A mother hums a lullaby

Twenty-four hours
to the other side of the world
twenty-four hours of night

No friends, no family
Only a hospital and an apartment
in Akron, Ohio

What will she do
in a place known to her
as jeans and Diana Ross
What awaits her

She fingers the rosary
given by her mother
wondering if she should pray

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