Before you, I knew wood as my arms,
sprouting from my island body.
Brown seeds spun coconut husk
then split to brown man, brown woman.
I am not a god of scripture or doctrine,
but I reside in them; they in me.
We saw you in the distance of white clouds.
Two pieces - one upright,
as a sword piercing the sands,
another outstretched, a preacher’s open arms -
borne on ship and fluttering winds.
You were the tip of that behemoth wood
ripping the veiled sky.
Light spilled on the skin
of marbled demons while they sunk
our painted bodies with their anchors.
We refused you at first.
Blood the price for keeping faith.
Your weariness bore us down.
Blood a pact for changing it.
I thought we had survived
each time my children sprung anew from
my scorched and salted lands,
molested by zeal.
Upon my feet,
my daughter as virgin,
her baro’t saya
slumped, sloughing off
On my uncrossed brow,
my young brown boy
tacked to a mockery
of you, his soutane
tattered before it
drapes body waiting.
Take these reposes,
to the bark of your bed;
yours accrued gold
headboard to foot.
Theirs crusted in grime and worm.
your face be long?
Time cocoons and plods on like a mollusk,
adds a spiral for every year
my children invoke your praise –
A mouth decreeing your altar in halls and laws.
A pair of lungs gasping for dry land
in floods and fires for the unworthy.
A megaphone blasting asphalt
calling a dictator to humility and holocaust.
And after all these centuries,
I wonder how you stay
there barely clothed,
drooping yet never dropping,
as if the weight we took from you
did nothing for your wounds.
Whenever I pray for you to ease
this burden we share,
you point to your sternum, it whispers:
Our heart is suffering.