Cider is the drink
I concoct each day without fail—
to keep my breathing as it should,
and to keep my sniffing, sneezing, at bay.

As crickets chirp at night,
my dog asleep in his corner—
in the dark kitchen,
I then stir in a cup:
boiled water,
a spoonful of vinegar,
and four teaspoonfuls of honey—
the concoction—now ready.

I pray to God that it is tea,
perhaps Pepsi to taste,
but the concoction is a warm, amber potion
one has to gulp to invoke
the spell that seethes
of tangy apples and, less, candy from combs
down the throat and into the belly—
That I will do
to breathe the day’s first proper breath
of fresh air
without sniffing and sneezing.

Hezekiah Louie Zaraspe is currently finishing his M.A. in Creative Writing at the UST Graduate School. He teaches language and literature classes at Miriam College Nuvali. His short stories, “Private Mirage” and “Nirvana”, have been featured by Miriam College’s “Bukad”. His poems have been published by Revolt Magazine. UP Manila’s forthcoming anthology, “Locked Down, Lit Up: An Anthology of Creative Work in a Time of Quarantine”, will feature his flash fiction piece, “Sleep is a Truce, Dreams its Succor”. Inquirer published his first essay in Filipino, “Pagbili ng barbecue, paglunok ng katotohanan”.

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