I shred your words in the kitchen
as I watch
mothers gather their children in Homs
their pale limbs stuporous
in their white cocoons
as we shine our candles
and fathers beckon the Barrys and the Smiths to their seas.
celebratory in their bloodstained uniforms,
await another opportune time
to sack the cities.
how much do words weigh
when brothers murder brothers
and blood turns thinner than air
its crimson color now bleak
in parched boots?
There is no God
higher than truth, you say
and yet truths, no more than prophets and gods,
are but tools
being skewed according to advantage.
Perhaps you could spare us one or two
Nobel Peace Prize words
in this grim time of dispossessed tears
so we can write them in our books
and glean from your wisdom.
And one day,
words will weigh much more than sarin
that the ground cannot escape them,
that they cannot be skewed
by power-hungry cowards
hiding behind artillery.
This poem was first published in Manila Bulletin on October 26, 2019.