what ant on earth showed you the way
to the treasure i buried
beneath our bamboo stair?
not a faintest sound did escape when,
one by one, as fast as father’s whip,
i slipped my coins into the calumet can.
did the sweat of my palm betrayed itself?
day, i was a hen: scratching the earth,
pecking every grain
left to die in the scorching rice field.
night, i was a knight: dreaming of new armor
for a coming fight. yes, i would be wearing
a pair of new khaki shorts and white t-shirt, come june.
but that horrible morning, i found the jaw
of the indian warrior in my calumet can deformed.
the world swirled and i dashed off to the plaza;
there you stood, pretending not to notice me,
hands digging deep into your pockets.
as i stared at the dicer’s fingers raking in
my precious coins, i prayed hard to god:
may the earth swallow you alive, manong!