Because sometimes we imagine benevolence in leavetaking.
Because mostly there is none.
Because mostly the world treats earnestness as sin,
looks for trees beyond windows when often there is only city.
Here a dry rag dragged across a table.
Here a closet full of blankets only, curtains drawn,
sometimes too little light to begin with.
So much cloth keeping no one warm.
Here a room and a bed and a child sitting on a bed.
My cupped hands containing a whisper,
my pockets brimming with stars.
You keening for some hidden brightness.
Because the heart relies on wishing to keep its rhythm.
Because the task of hands is to insist on holding.
Because mostly we fail.
Because mostly we wish each other forgetfulness.
Sometimes we wish each other well.
It is the nature of throats.
Every people that has suffered enough
has suffered through song.
It is the way that a ribcage
It is the universe vibrating in minor chords only.
It is the fish humming in the gulf,
the fishermen wading through a history of murder.
In a clearing in Cotabato a tribe of B’laan
spends mornings sweeping the ground of fruit
and shards of mortar.
Spends evenings sharpening needles.
This is the weave of the world.
Everything doubles as a weapon.
Everything a compass to navigate
window and monsoon, benevolence and war.
Every ache, however vast, is knowable if held
against the little body.
A blind woman grabs a stranger’s arm
and asks, “Are you real? Sing if you are.”
A prayer lilts and dissipates from a mosque.