What the Brooke’s Point Farmer Taught Me

There are things bigger than me.

           Like husking the coconut 

           to sip its water,

           hacking the shell, and scraping the meat

           into strands before the third moon sets.

Perhaps your oracle eye fishes

in the shallows for the glimmer of a treasure

chest in the waters off this Palawan quarry.

           Like deciding which fruits of the earth

           can sell, recicada, in any weather

           or can enter the tapahan

           where smoke becomes copra.

No crows seem to caw 

at the rim of the memory

of houses built in debt.

           Like your sun-drenched face cracking open

           to let laughter out. The pink flower

           on your granddaughter’s cake blooms

           against bales of hay piled by rice paddies.

There are things bigger than my stories,

like this island unbowed before a drought,

like the hard shell of the earth.

Jose Luis Pablo (“Nico”) is a communications manager for a non-profit organization based in Metro Manila. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Creative Writing at the University of the Philippines Diliman. His poetry has appeared in Likhaan: The Journal of Contemporary Philippine Literature and Cordite Poetry Review.

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