Thursday, August 09, 2012

Manila Did Not Drown

Manila Did Not Drown
- Manila, after August 8, 2012

This storm came nameless,
dragging at the tails of another typhoon,
filling our streets mercilessly and equitably
with muddy, debris-strewn water.

"It's only water," some people say
through their tears, clutching a bag of clothes,
a radio, holding fast to babies in plastic bins
while soldiers ferry old men and women
on their backs, as some of them form
human bridges over the floodwater
and prisoners give up their food for others.

Over the sound of rain are whistles
from rubber boats, looking for anyone to be rescued.
Over the sound of rain are collective cries
for hot rice and bottled water and blankets and breast milk
and warm hands to hold orphaned children.

No one will be left behind, not here, not now,
and those aren't just words, they are in the real
grasp of those packing cans of sardines to give away,
in the pictures of divers and mermaids smiling in the water,
in the prayers and the tears these past three days
that will not be forgotten.
We rose up with a bittersweet laugh
to forgive, begin again.

- Justine C. Tajonera

Photo from collective FB Posts

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