OUR EMERALD tower of prickly pines,

crystal spheres dangling

from its sturdy wooden arm

our neighbors fuddled with drink

singing carols

with jumbled lyrics

pouring drinks in your name, saying,

“O, kay Kuya Leo naman.”


You used to wipe the dust off the figurine angels

revealing faded smiles

paint chipping off from handheld harps and trumpets

left, right, left, right went the washcloth

and the golden star for the finish

that you wouldn’t let anyone touch nor clean

(Remember when I used metal polish

and you didn’t speak to me for a week?)


You used to bring yards and yards of garlands

lines of silver and blue and purple whirling

enveloping the tree in a wiry embrace

around and around the tree it went.

“Like everything around us,” you said.

“Like the Sun.

It rises and sets, and rises again.”

Sweet promises of the indefinite tomorrow


And when you were done

you beamed

the delicate angels with harps and trumpets

holding a little cheer

even if only for a short, bitter while


At least it brought you

away from the viciousness

of the concrete jungle

betrayed by emotions

the anxiety of everyday objects

empty bottles of Prozac hidden in your drawer

“Even if you’re damned,” you used to say,

“you press on.”


The angels, the garlands, your beloved Star

they are still with us

we dust them off

we spin it around

as it dangles and then settles

like a memory that settles slowly

in the center of a caloused heart


Works of Thomasian artists fetch high bids at Leon auction

Z.G. Duque II


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