July noon, the city laid bare below an endless sheet of blue,
Davao’s downtown sprawl naked, its dusty urban flesh
crisscrossed with the implicit loom of wires,
Corrugated walls rust-colored like lipstick stains, or bruises.
Summer light, smoke scent, the siren call of engines—
These all add to the texture of cacophony,
The all-encompassing weight of a city onto the senses.
In this purgatory light of noon the world itself is unclothed,
Burnt by cloudless horizon, its sounds and stains uncovered
Without shame, without secrets,
Even when its embrace makes it difficult to breathe.
Tara Yakob Montiflor is a graduate of BA English (cum laude) from the University of the Philippines Mindanao, a Best Thesis Finalist for their poetry collection “The Streets will Not Embrace You.”