Poem about Another Poem
The old Jesuit walks out from the seminary
into the parking lot. He exhales cigar smoke
into the damp air. There are mango trees in the dark,
and beyond those a small garden with bromeliads
and a dead log to which a few pale orchids cling.
It has just rained, and classes at the college nearby
have been let out for the night. Tomorrow, he will be
at a funeral, but he is not thinking of that now. Instead,
he is thinking of the possibilities of dinner: the milkfish,
maybe, in a hot and sour soup. Or sweet loin of pork,
white rice. I am sorry I never wrote you a poem
while you were alive, Lola. Other things begged me
to speak on behalf of them, and I listened only
to the loudest. How will you hear me now?
I press my hands into the wet soil of the grave,
still empty, already dug. I put my mouth to the stone.
The priest he stubs out his cigar carefully.
His brothers are filing into the dining hall.
He realizes that he has missed the dinner bell,
that he had wandered too far from the sound.
Never mind, he thinks, it is a Thursday,
and tonight it will be the fish.