At the dining table we picked at a bowl
of old basil from the crisper—maybe
we could salvage a pesto or a green
curry. Quickly my pile grew bigger
than his. He was angry again.
He pinched the stalks without method.
He wanted to give up
on this basil, this dinner. I grooved
to the neighbor belting out bossa
Cole Porter on her karaoke machine.
“After You, Who?” “Just One of Those
Things,” “What is This Thing Called Love?” Once,
I trashed a jar of olives, once a box
of cheese, and once a quart of soy milk
molding in different hues of white.
Sometimes we know. Other times
we pick, we salvage,
we sing someone else’s song.
The poem was first published in Silliman Journal, Volume 54, Number 2, July to December 2013.
Jhoanna Lynn B. Cruz is Professor of creative writing in the University of the Philippines Mindanao, where she also serves as chair of the Humanities Department. Her memoir about rebuilding her life in Davao City, Abi Nako, Or So I Thought was published by the UP Press in 2020.