"If the Poem were Glass" first appeared in the spring 2005 issue of POETRY EAST.
If the Poem Were Glass
Kung kristal ang tula, manginginig akong hawakan.
(If the poem were glass, I would tremble from merely holding, from being held.)
- Rebecca Añonuevo
Who was it said each thing that meets
the other meets itself? Meeting what quickens
though is tinged with regret, I am the face
that floats beneath the water of itself,
that counts the passing stars and branches
overhead, wanting to attend to their beauty
before their waning, wanting to forestall
the eventual farewell for as long as the world
grants pardon. If I close my eyes the faraway
mountains return: their outlines of pine, each
outcropping of rock etched against the silence
which holds what cannot unburden its heart
completely to language, to falling leaves,
to water. Thin flute of crystalIf nothing else,
at least the gift of being seen, especially before
the pour of amber. Taste of the fermented
grape, preserved, transformed: extracted wealth
that might have never been, that slides from one
scale now to the other from glass to tipped-back
throat so only warmth remains, as in that rim
that flushes at the border of night and day. Before
the world is flooded with plainness, before the vines
return to their patient work among the trellises.
Before the careful hand rinses the glass and returns it to
the paneled cabinet, where other fragile vessels
rest in attention aware of how the slightest motion
could set the whole transparent shelf to ringing.
Copyright © 2006 Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc.