On opening body bags after Haiyan
I can only imagine it
like unearthing a scab
Zipper breaks vertebrae one
There is not enough relief here to hide the scent of what this child used to be
before the water washed out the sun in his skin.
mothers trying to dig through themselves
an umbilical chord to lend life to a limp ghost
the coconut trees are not high enough to see over the inside-out that was made here
bags do not have the honor to be called burial plots
churches aren’t supposed to be Mausoleums
Tacloban was morphed into Ground Zero.
I watch this while it snows in Madison Wisconsin
A place where it’s easier to be a rodent than it is to be a colored person
This place drowns my people in a different way
I inhabit both places like a jig saw corpse trying to find itself whole
These brown boys in Tacloban are not my cousins
But I want to carry them to safety
These brown girls in Tacloban are not my daughters
But I want to tell them that there is still growing after this choking
But Iâ€™m still an ocean away
A language farther from root
A skin tone lighter than the sand
Born there, raised here, home nowhere,
Watching this storm is a sorry excuse for mourning
It is to need the sun desperately
It is to figure out that your body is in this country
But your grief is in the other
To look at your house
walk to the river
and come back with no house
is to be filipino
To look at your motherland hurting
from a TV screen
is to be Filipino American
Looking at the islands through the blue eyes of Anderson Cooper
is the most American I have ever felt.
but still I pray for them
and I cry for them
because God tried to make them Atlantis
when they werenâ€™t ready to be myth just yet.
Because rebuilding is the Filipinoâ€™s most intrinsic instinct
But most painful trauma
Relief is just a word
whose tagalog translation i donâ€™t even know
This poem is all i can give
For a country bleeding in salt water.
Hail Mary full of Grace,
the Lord keeps trying to drown us.
Hallowed be thy bodies
Thy kingdom come down in waves and winds
Thy will has been done
On Earth as it is destroyed.
Give us this day our daily rations
And forgive us for living
As we forgive those who have tried to kill us
And lead us not into more typhoons
But deliver us from breaking
Holy Mary Mother of God,
pray for us whos skin always means sin now and at the hour of our death.