after Carel Fabritius’s The Goldfinch (c.1654)
Chained to the feedbox
That is nailed against the day-
Yellow wall, the goldfinch
Looks out at us, its grave
Gaze unflinching as a hill.
See the sun’s glare?
It is the grin stretched across
The face. The chain, the black-
Clouds shrouded at the crys-
Talline sky. This taut knot
Is sewn on Earth’s palm.
You are within this world’s
Grasp. You, too, are the bird.
Michael John Otanes, 24, was born and raised in General Santos City, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in English at Mindanao State University. He is a fellow for Poetry in the 2018 Davao Writers Workshop.