The city only heals if it rains.
Calm, still, quiet: an afterthought.
Lights will illuminate the battered
skins of roads, pedestrian stripes
losing their mundaneness, praying
for the last sole to press on
their body. The vehicles are the first
to go, then stores, leaving empty
rooms, empty floors, empty buildings,
unreachable from the water. It must
be that the city only heals if the rain
a lover of the sky bathes its bed,
the temporary freckled blanket
overlooking the stars, a cemetery
of cemented highways, bridges,
canals busy with their own dying.
Somewhere far away from here,
in Apo, its tongue cleansing
fallen leaves, the city must be
healing in peace, an abandoned
joy, lips aghast in shower, touching
the palms of the wind as if freely
devoid of all those that forget why
the city is a city. It will hum now
as the sky’s ash canvas slowly blinds,
creases in black, watching passersby
curse, hairs drenched from the cold
spring of heaven, and one by one
they’re gone. The next time it pours,
hear in silence the city’s breathing.

30 Jan 2019

This is a reprint of work originally published in Katitikan: Literary Journal of the Philippine South.

Ian Salvaña, 23, is currently doing his MA in Political Science at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary and Vienna, Austria. He is formerly a faculty member of the Sociology Department of Ateneo de Davao University. He has attended several national literary workshops in the Philippines and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize by The Brown Orient. His works appeared or are forthcoming in various literary anthologies and journals, among them Universal Oneness: An Anthology of Magnum Opus Poems from around the World, Sustaining the Archipelago: An Anthology of Philippine Ecopoetry, Eunoia Review and New Contrast.

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