by Laura Gatmaitan Perez
it was the dark circles around her eyes,
perhaps the hollow of her cheeks that
i would recognize yards away.
absent-mindedly holding a cold,
leftover meal in a cup
she looked, how anxious she appeared
despite the distance.
“would you like some?” and
without waiting for a response
to spoonfeed her. she obliged,
her eyes transfixed on mine as if
waiting for a solid confirmation.
soon she was
half-asleep in a makeshift bed,
bundled up like a child,
tossing like a warrior dreaming of combat.
very gently i touched her hair
making sure she was there
a dozen earrings by her side
began to slide
and she made a start, tried to stand up
before i placed them into a tiny box
the blings are some of the many contradictions
I discovered about her, she whom i didn’t see until it seemed too late
– blings of myriad colors,
– dazzling, teasing, reassuring –
blings that would belie her pain.