“It is called a kundiman, or love song. A very sad song. Filipinos are very sad people.”
– The Filipino Houseboy, by Carlos Bulosan.
Remember the young man, the father started,
from Isabella, warring with some unknown force
that invaded his old backyard: a lake
filled with the leeches that loved, digested blood
and soil then were thrown back to the water –
a splash spreading upward. An open palm caressing.
The old man died in the middle of sheets.
His head rested on his wife’s breast
before the ambulance wheeled him off.
The EMT asked the wife if they were having sex
when his heart stopped. They were making love,
but how could she translate his love from another
language? Her grief sounded like a bell
rung in the church of an abandoned village.