Victor Peñaranda

One early morning the stars lost their meaning
As my wife started to labor with our eldest child.
I tripped at the thought of finding her a midwife,
Of rushing her to the confines of an emergency room
Somewhere at the rim of her pain and my anxiety,
At the brink of defying the curfew on civilians.
They could have detained or shot us if found outdoors,
For resembling homeless vagrant or sleepless militant.

This happened many years ago during martial law,
When suspected activists were abducted
From their homes and tortured in safe houses,
Left to die in the playground of an assassin’s mind.
Our fear went public like a flock of startled birds
Bursting from a vast plain into fragile existence.
From the dewdrop of my silence flowered
A tensile strength to be selfless than helpless.

To be subversive rather than subservient,
That’s how we chose to be in those difficult times
And the lessons of liberation have not deserted us:
Even when cautious we remain adventurous.
We become a country of recall when someone
Threatens to bury a tyrant in our field of heroes,
And citizens create moments of radiance while sharing
Fables that offer them momentum to be free.

August 20, 2016