When my Apu was still alive,
her presence in the house
was royal, like the moon
that graced the night with wisdom
just by being there
And when she spoke, her words were
Like a breeze that tousled my hair
I couldn't always remember details of what she said
But I liked hearing her say anything.
And when she hummed, I
Stopped my thoughts to listen instead to her kundiman, a love song.
And now and then she would kiss my head.
She smelled of soap.
Her wrinkled fingers rubbed her eyes and then yawned aloud
And thanked God.
For what in particular, I didn't know.
Her eyelids drooped low which made her
Look like she was always sad
And when she looked out
It was as if something far had caught her eye
And then she closed her eyes as she murmured something
just between her and God.
At that point my eyes would cease seeing, too.
When I left, she let me be happy for leaving
while she wept, and I thought nothing of it.
I wish I had told her how much I loved her.
She carried my mother inside her.
Taught my mother what she in turn taught me
Which I now teach my children
And when I look at them
I couldn't help but
Thank God that the order of things
was the way it was.