“At the Terminal” by Misael Mesina Paranial

Misael Mesina Paranial


Six p.m., and the evening
traffic homeward has gone amok.
The opening salvo: an explosion

throwing rush hour into disarray,
sudden rain of shrapnel seeking
solace in warm bodies.

Days ago, the city turned out
to see who kisses the longest.
Today, kisses seemed superfluous

among the burnt dead, caught unaware
or the shell-shocked, wounded
in the aftermath of bombs

exploding everywhere:
a loaded bus, a parked tricycle,
a lone package outside a food stall.

Pressed for sound bites,
our Man in Uniform swallows
his intel reports and concedes,

“Well, you know, it’s very difficult
to safeguard every place.”
And as if to punctuate his remarks

the ruined legs of a boy
dangle out from a rescuer’s arms
lifeless, useless.

from Rattle #24, Winter 2005
Tribute to Filipino Poets

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