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Aubade Beginning with Landfall

by Elvis A. Galasinao Jr.

Illustration "Hope and Light" by Bianca Cosar
Illustration "Hope and Light" by Bianca Cosar

Thatched roof and bamboo walls of the nipa hut are

                              tied down to the ground like a canopy tent.

Whenever I see girls and boys…

          He drives metal stakes into the ground as she

          pounds them repeatedly using a hammer.

Tie the ropes, he says.

                    The wind is howling and the lanterns on the streets

                                                  are whipping so violently they

                                                  bang against the walls.

          She makes clove hitch knots

with braided rope

          to firmly tighten all sides.

                                                  Wherever there are people,

                    sky is cocooned in black and heavy downpour arrives;

                    water washes over their skin like a molten silver.

He hurriedly

          drags her inside and

                    closes all the windows.

          She clasps her hands holding the rosary beads and kneels

          toward the window giving gifts exchanging prayers of

                                        protection: Ama namin, iadya mo kami sa kalamidad.

Let’s light our Christmas trees…

He strikes a matchstick then holds it directly

          under the candle wick

                              and flips the candle right-side-up

                                        as the wick lights.

I believe that Christmas is truly in their

          shadows casted by the candle.

                                                  For a bright tomorrow,

                                        lightning cracks the sky sending heaven’s

                                        light through the super typhoon.

Where nations are at peace, the bamboo walls creak,

                              screaming as their limbs strain against the onslaught.

Let’s sing Merry Christmas…

                              Floodwater surges around the nipa hut bringing

          the soils of riverbed into the village

                              enough to topple the bamboo stairs.

                                                                      And a happy holiday…

The roof slats of the hut start to

                                                            fly into the air,

                                                                      flying around like a

newspaper in a gale.

The wind screeches around the village

                                        pushing its way in every door.

                                                  Let’s sing Merry Christmas…

Barangay officials shouting on a megaphone

                                                  lumikas evacuate lumikas!

This season they just huddled together and begged

for His guidance — a holy rosary clasped tight.

                              A year ago, he says.

                                        May we never forget.

Appeared in Issue Spring '22

Elvis A. Galasinao Jr.

Nationality: Filipino

First Language(s): Filipino, Ilocano
Second Language(s): English

More about this writer

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Das Land Steiermark

Listen to Elvis A. Galasinao Jr. reading "Aubade Beginning with Landfall".

Supported by:

Land Steiermark: Kultur, Europa, Außenbeziehungen
U.S. Embassy Vienna
Stadt Graz