Unit 136

by China De Vera

As the packaging tape creates
screeching sound,
as if someone accidently
stepped on a duckling
who was a spectator
to a woman who is wondering:
how can countless memories
fit into a couple of box?

Everybody is at their best
sorting out
clothes,
shoes,
books,
plates,
and
evidence that we once lived here.
In four decade old dictator’s building,
seemingly we found bliss
in the middle of
catastrophe,
diaspora,
death,
famine
and
the shotgun sound of nearby firing range.

Get acquainted with
uninvited guests
which nanay calls “mababait”
contrary to what they do to our clothes.
Be familiar with videoke day schedule
of our beloved neighbor
who never refuse to sing notes higher
than normal range.

Memorize the names of:
old lady who’s battling with heart problem;
newborn baby on the second floor;
the mute grandmother who has a passion for plants,
the family vehemently praying;
and the retiree recently cremated.
Had a sense of awareness
that buildings grew tired.
Pipes: leak.
Flooring: crack.
Tiles: break.
And even the fantastic stories
of visitors who once
stepped,
slept,
ate,
and
hid
on this unit cannot fix.

As the packaging tape reach exhaustion
everybody is in their proper place
while the woman
now, holding the duckling,
s       t       a       r       i       n       g

at the closed mouth boxes.

 

Unit 136

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