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My Five-Year-Old Nephew Talks to Me

One of the poems I read at today's Philippine STAR and National Bookstore poetry readings. I wrote a draft of this poem ten years ago but lost it. This morning, it all came back to me the moment I woke up from my sleep, and wrote it down for today's reading.


My Five-Year-Old Nephew Talks to Me


Uncle, uncle, what happened to you?
Why do you have a smile as sticky as glue?

Then sometimes, my uncle, your smile is gone
Like the parts of my toy gun that came undone.

Some days you pass like a breeze in the house,
your feet floating above the cat and the mouse.

Then sometimes your face darkens like a cloud,
you are so silent, and your door is locked.

But one morning you went home with marks
on your neck -- small, red marks

That made my eyes widen
and so I asked Yaya Mirren

To spray Baygon in your room
so the mosquito that made your neck bloom

Into this red and sorry sight
will no longer bite you -- ferociously -- at night.

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