Mom cut me bangs once
That were so lopsided
I cried and demanded
The return of the snipped hairs.

“Would you have me glue them
Back again? What is cut stays cut,”
She said, then relented:
“It will grow back.”

All that exasperation
Would be welcome now.
All the attention to mere hairs
That have since grown back,
The inexpert lulling of that
Tearful child with
The best hugs,
An ice cream cone,
The rich promise of
That smile that reassured
Without fail.

The things that are cut
Remain cut.
Some of them grow back.
Some never do.

Acceptance is a dish
Served in a sauce of tears.

There are the nights that
Deny you sleep after
The mornings that surprise you
With reports of death’s
Thefts in broad daylight
Just as you wipe
The stars from your eyes.

There, there, sit there through
The dark hours holding
The fear of loss like
A market weight
Waiting for a scale of grief.

Give it a measure of tears.
Give it its weight in fears.
And, eventually it relents
And offers you a measure
Of life to keep, extra,
For the regular
At the vigil
After you bargain
With the Devil
For naught.

The body aches
With life.
The brain won’t rest
Until it has its fill,
Is sated in the knowledge
That the tide is stemmed
For now. That rest
Is dawning
With the sun
Breaking through
Heavy gray clouds.

With heavy eyes
The vigil ends.

Alma Anonas-Carpio

Alma Anonas-Carpio

Palanca winner (1994), Palanca judge (2001); member, Manila Critics Circle and judge in the National Book Awards. Journalist, cook, catmom, mother to twins.