“Operation Cast Lead” is not the Title of a Movie
After a night of gasping
I nurse the consequences
Somewhere else they are remembering
smoke that takes forever
to clear, the ringing in the ears,
the smell of burnt flesh
among personal belongings.
The Blind Stealth of Drones
It used to shock us
to hear of deaths
at a wedding, at a funeral.
On paths made barren
by heavy boots,
grass no longer grows.
The next explosion
is just another
Three Views of an Israeli Checkpoint and a Missing Mother
Who chose your womb before you were born?
Was your name known
to the speck of dust that first entered your eye?
Are you the only one
who sweats in the harsh burning
of this sun as it turns in silence?
Why does the next moment lie
on your finger that senses fear?
It is only a child you face,
why do you warm the trigger?
You are in full military gear.
He is wrapped in a blue blanket, serene.
The barrel of your gun is close to his feet.
His grandfather holds him steady, to keep his sleep.
The next moment is measured in increments
of fear, that distance closing in.
Old man, it is not time alone
that has struck
your hair this white.
Your hands know the depth of olive roots,
the countless times they can be pulled
out of the ground by those
who wish to see them twist in the sun.
than your daughter’s child.
These poems appear in my recent collection, Sound Before Water (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013).
Jim Pascual Agustin writes and translates poetry in Filipino and English. He grew up in the Philippines and now lives in Cape Town with his Canadian-born wife and their twin daughters. His fifth and sixth poetry books are Kalmot ng Pusa sa Tagiliran and Sound Before Water, simultaneously published in 2013 by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House in Manila. The same publisher recently accepted a new collection, A Thousand Eyes. His blog is www.matangmanok.wordpress.com