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I wonder if, when rolling thunder breaks
the white noise cadence of this restless city,
I’m the only one who can hear the call of home
or are there others, looking up from the Jenga
towers of their daily struggles, straining to conjure
nights besieged by southwest monsoons and
coaxing their consciousness free from the ones
and zeroes, to nestle in the remembered scent
of rain and the hands of humid winds rattling
the shutters, touching them through the walls.

I wonder if the amniotic coastline waters we’ve
been conceived in has dried out halfway through
being airlifted from our origins and blown into this
busy port of steel and brickwork, if the archipelago
encrypted into the way we dream and love and
react to pain has been overridden and are we
skyscrapers now of Midwestern mettle, maintaining
a casual eye contact relationship with storms and
brisk walking past mentions of tropical depressions
like strangers in crowded sidewalks, with not
enough bamboo left in our souls to heed the once
second to our nature invitation to step into the
whirlwind, to kneel in the eye of uncertainty and
lengths of silence punctuating troubled sleep inside
the mosquito net that veils the dawning morning
and its flooded streets, the tree of one’s childhood
uprooted, all its secrets exposed and disheveled
and stories thrown over left shoulders, and the
village waking up to mystic infusions of heroic
blood, unfazed by the countless lashes dealt by fate
on their tired brown muscles, carrying scars like
prized inheritance and rebuilding to the beat of the
same songs our ancestors had sung centuries before.

“Garnet Swamp” by photographer Larry Monserate Piojo


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