Poetry

Pluck

To Jorisse Gumanay

I

You pluck
a leaf from a tree
as we walk
into the deepening dusk.

Somewhere out there,
the red sun falls into the sea,
—a warm, viscous
drop of blood.

In this burnt evening,
the wind blowing dryly of dust,
we tread the streets
with our tired feet.

Let me
once again listen
to that fragile leaf weep
in your hand.

A leaf
which you fold
then roll into a scroll
—to whatever whims
your beautifully frail
fingers may have.

II

Hand me over
the wrinkled leaves.
Show me again
how you are a god of death.

Tell me once more,
with that somber voice of yours,
how all life will come to an end.

That nothing matters.
That everything will be
eternally forgotten
like the withered leaves
that fall and rest at our feet.

Somewhere out there,
the dead moon rises into the sky,
—a pearl of light glimmering
behind thunderous clouds.

What is life then
but a fleeting flash of light
amid the darkness
that knows no bounds?

III

I wish for God
not to blindly
pluck you
among the houses
of leaves.

Somewhere out there,
God’s capricious hands
sweep the earth.

My dearest, hide well
within my bushes
as if I were a forest.

Root deeply and freely
anywhere across
my humble lands.

Hold on tight
to my branches
as tightly as my roots
hold to the ground.

Let us stand
through the most vicious
of storms.

Let us bask
in the cool sunlight
of dusks and dawns.

And may God
not pull me out
from the earth just yet.
Nor you dry out and wilt.
Do not even fall
when I am finally
in my barest form:
being nothing more
but a skeleton of branches
sticking out into nothing
but the empty space.
With all my beloved
leaves gone, but you,
only you, in this only time
and this only place.


Nicolo Nasol, born and raised in Cebu City, currently working as a freelance writer and editor.

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