Poetry by | April 10, 2011

                      Only once
               I felt compelled
       to pray and repel
the holiday effect
       upon my learners.
               In Jesus name. Amen.
                      Still nobody cared
             about tedious dusts
       I marked on green walls.

Then came
       a reckless command,
               my offhand instruction:
                               form a big circle
                     and throw aimless
             questions to any
       of your schoolfellows
in dignified uniform.

       So the learned girl
             graced first, a query
                     for Ken. She asked
                                 about the face
                            wrapped in satin veil.
                           Sainted. Orphic.
             Like Mariam. Does he
    adore her mystery?

The room, unprepared
       for his nod, uproared
                to dare his guts,
                        to face the veiled face
                                  while he choked
                        on every syllable
                  but managed his phrases
       well. Do you, he faltered
share what I feel,
         he paused and uttered
                   her delicate name:

An absence of sound
         as if all were in prayer.
                   We waited and heard
                                     her faint reply
                         of a restraint smile
                   arched on her lips.

          I faced the next days
with an offhand lesson
          of seeing two seated eyes
                  glancing end to end
                        amidst spiraling chairs.
          Twisted. Back in shape.

Seneca Nuneza Pellano teaches Creative Writing at Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan.

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