The Other Life of Us
after Bucky Sinister
In another story, we are not born as goodbyes to an older country
but tremors of the last night’s monsoon—the wet discarded rinds
pulled from an aging fruit tree bending towards the small shock
of light caning through the palms. Here we are not men
who question the God we were given. We are the elements
and filled with hunger. I am still dark. And I am still not told that this
is beautiful. Here, we are children laying in the grass. Our bellies
sick with sugar cane, the dead stalk strewn about in tribute.
Here we are again, in the same field, as grown men, who never
learned their lesson. Maybe we understand our parents better.
Maybe we finally love them in the ways they always deserved.
In this story, I am stumbling drunk down a street
with two blown lamp posts. Even here, I can’t get most
things right. When you catch up to me I am dizzy against
the wall struggling to take a piss. Kuya, you tell me,
tabi tabi po. Your voice filled with worry, reminding me
that we still owe pittance to all of our gods,
even those that are small and trade in mischief.
From here, you help me walk the rest of the way home.
And you listen to me tell you all that is troubling. Each of us
taking turns to wipe the sweat off our foreheads. Everything
is so quiet. Nothing but the sound of gravel scraping underfoot.
by Jason Bayani
Jason Bayani is the author of Amulet from Write Bloody Press. He's an MFA grad from Saint Mary's College, a Kundiman fellow, and a longtime veteran of the National Poetry Slam Scene. He's currently the program manager for Kearny Street Workshop in San Francisco and continues to perform regularly.