Poem: Force majeure
By: Brylle Bautista Tabora
“Ma, just let go. Save yourself,” said the girl, whose body was pierced
by wooden splinters from houses crushed by Supertyphoon Yolanda.
—Philippine Daily Inquirer, Nov. 11, 2013
The world does not owe you an explanation.
Like the meekest child in the cold of night,
it shakes and shudders at the slightest tremble,
and opens its mouth to the drop of rain.
You must accept this is how the world behaves:
it rages against the living to turn people into ashes,
it breaks into quakes and destroys old churches.
Come to think of it, there is no way around it.
A girl of six must embrace the falling debris
coming for her death. A mother ties her children
around a wall post to keep them from being
swept away by the strong gust of wind.
But let me tell you, it is through small miracles
that we learn to come through the day’s horror.
Once, I saw an old man on TV, a victim of disaster,
holding a rosary in one hand, a stampita in the other.
Mother told me a stampita is one way of knowing
what to pray (and for whom). Like a didactic poem,
it tells you how many times over you must recite
the Lord’s prayer, or how many ways you could have
saved thousands of lives that perished in the storm.
There is no instruction manual better than this.
It tells you you will survive despite all these
and those who did shall live to tell a bigger story:
a rainbow is coming out any moment now,
telling you we must learn to love each other more.