Despair at Dawn

it lingers, the sorrow, like a drizzle,
as men sit on benches with tumblers of gin

in hands, whiffs of smoke drifting about
the atmosphere— the possible mechanism

my countrymen have invented against despair.
the foreigner asked why the children here

wear old faces, i told him to wear his caution
perfectly well, the bullets don’t glamorize
the body of an alien.

red-stained lips, the gratitude of a schoolgirl
who escaped the terrorists’ plunder.

before i learned English, i have mastered
every gimmick of survival—say, run. hide. jump.

a sheep sprints onto the highway, then
reduces into a pulp of blood from a truck hit—

i have witnessed folks fade out
like this from a bombshell. cold as a river,

the bones of my body shudder at every
echo of drumroll. i do not wish for trauma
to slip into me this way.

i do not wish to be the next decomposing
animal carcass found on a Cocoa farm.

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