From the high ceiling bodies shuddered
in stale air, tattered dresses fell
from bone-dry shoulders. Light lay down
in beams from the doorway. His beard
was the color of her childhood summer,
porcelain on the table, plumage of birds,
eyes that stare back from the mirror.
She ran her fingers through that beard once,
felt the only softness in him yield to her hand.
The key falling, metal rattling against blood
and stone; a stain sand and soap can’t remove.
But his beard was soft and blue, fistfuls of it
even as the dead call his name,
putrefied in their longing for him.
Camille Rivera is a graduate student at the University of the Philippines Diliman. She has attended two national writers’ workshops in her country. Her poems have been published online and in print.