Tag: Poem

800 Miles

I, busy shelving picture books 
All while dreaming of TV cooks,
was unaware that viral counts
jumped over predicted mounts.
The number of infected hosts
Bloomed like algae along our coast.
Notified of the coming harm,
I let fall books from my arm.

My thoughts raced to the San Francisco Bay
To my family, 800 miles away.

A library page no longer
Just a child, filled with hunger,
For the family I left behind
For the pay, the hustle, the grind.
Locked inside an unlocked prison
Quarantined in isolation
Disinfecting, I made so clean
My body of Covid-19.

In my sterile home, I must stay
From my family, 800 miles away.

Threats of furlough, not so subtle,
Increased our collective struggle
Underneath an orange regime
which history will not redeem.
Yet, I found myself quite lucky
To be employed while I study
Librarianship by the sea.
A rare gift afforded to me

From my family, 800 miles away
Where my roots will never decay.

Eventually, those with power
Deemed me an essential flower
Whose fruitful labor must be reaped
So the wealthy can safely sleep.
I, then, with my fellows, returned
To our buildings, where we learned
How to better serve our patrons
Not as before but as strict matrons.

To my family, 800 miles away
I send my hopes for a better day.

Lost in Translation

An old leather suitcase with scuff marks from planes, trains, automobiles
A gradient of nurses' scrubs starting at white and ending in cartoon characters against pastel backgrounds
Letters written in a language that tastes like sea salt and sounds like a storm after a drought 
Balikbayan boxes stuffed to the bursting with the spoils of the new world 
An ancient weight scale used to ensure the delivery man is being fair with his prices
Yellow legal paper and cursive inked by an amateur's hand
The form of a mother, just off from work, slumped over a table before the television, snoring 
The form of a child placing a blanket on her mother's shoulders
Telephone calls then silence
Silence then telephone calls
Pancit on Styrofoam plates
A broken lamp once wielded like a sword
A plastic oar used to shoo away rats
An expensive living room set turned into a bed for an overworked mother
Discarded Newport cigarettes in the outside garbage bin
A tear stained blanket
A diploma wrapped up in plastic
Muffled voices on landlines
Muffled voices on cell phones
The warmth of a hug
The smell of a sister's hair 
The way she drove her car around
Motown on the radio
Burnt rice at the bottom of a sauce pot 

Google Translated Language

Ang wikang lumalabas sa aking mga labi,
sumusunod sa agos na hindi ko mahuhulaan.
Ito ay bumubulusok nang malalim mula sa loob ng aking mga baga,
nakakakuha sa mga baluktot na bangko ng mga salmo,
winasak ang mga bundok ng pag-aalinlangan,
habang nagpapakintab ng mga bato gamit ang bagong ritmo.