calumet can

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!