Poetry by Angela G. Fabunan
By Angela Gabrielle Fabunan
A Claiming in the Night
I had a dream about you again, squinting at the midday sun
a reflection stagnant over rippling water, we were meeting
by the nipa hut, you were radiant against the backdrop of bright light,
I was, not quite moon, but a bit of moonbeam, we were shaking
hands and you were saying something the dream cut off—
The theater of my mind went black and I can’t quite remember
but I know there was something I wanted to say
but then the dream reverted itself, twisting in my sheets
and I awoke in a surprised frenzy of sweat, pillows and light
and I think it was about how much I desired you, still near me,
after all these years of longing, staring at incandescent stars
out the window of my bungalow through the fracture of curtains
throwing my thoughts to you, beholden to you, wishing you’d
come back to me, but already the stars are dimming amidst
the light of the bright moon, already you are in another’s arms,
your body clear in representation in another’s thoughts,
and of course, I have no claim to you, therefore I release
you into the wind, easy as the quick light of a traveling shooting star,
I made my wish: may the light of day always guide you gently into night,
sana ang liwanag ng araw ay iparating ka sa gabi. but this is my dream,
mine and mine and mine alone, I cannot claim you, can claim nothing,
nothing between us but miles and miles of starlight though still I want you
and choose to love you. And if this is not enough to win
you, if this is not enough to stay beside you, I will suffer waiting
at the gates of these heavens until one day, in another lifetime,
in another memory, they open wide as the sun’s reach, embracing us.
Naked amidst the world’s light, a shroud
over the darkest parts of us lingering
clinging to bursts of light, tiny ruptures
In an infantile sea, up above, lecherous
for light, yet dissolving into fragments,
the dark dangerous night relishes pleasure
from the shiny daggers in the air.
Were we, thousands of years ago, still human,
or were these humans ever stars, we forget,
we hum to the constant tune of black, black,
Black skies, to the thoughts of a beginning
and an end, merciless quarters where we hang
perhaps in the beginning, were we not the only
source of light in this conundrum of a universe?
Perpetuating the moon, circling ‘round and ‘round
twinkle the night away, steady as we go, shoot
a star from out into the galaxy, where it cannot be
found, ring-around-the-rosy, pocketful
of poesies, ashes to ashes, we all fall down.
Not so much the muse but the muser
Rodin’s thinker in the cosmos, no, not muse,
but contemplating his muses, surely—a pose
that blankets the entire earth with dewfall.
Not muse? Amusing, though, how he is
adored by poets and crowned by stars
in the galactic stage of his own undoing.
Sun-down, he enters the set, entraps us in
a conversation more dangerous than the moon.
His punishment, to think so highly of himself.
It is on a Night like this—do we dare
call him by name? That we desire
more than anything, that he
give in to the morning dawn
and rest his tired bones on the plank
of this lighthouse by the bay.
To listen to us, plea by sordid plea, to sleep
Endymion away, letting us pass through this
with grace and beauty, not the lightning
rod that strikes the sky when reddened.
But he is never on solid ground
though everywhere, we cannot touch
and he will evade us like a thief
always slipping, a galaxy away, under cover,
only to land in the sea as blue as he.
And then he’ll return, he’ll always come back,
in the evening with the bruised sun, with a star
for our efforts, uncapturable, unfathomable,
he will not accept our apologies, will not
rest until we are but a speck in his aerial dust,
and he will avoid the morning dawn, until slowly,
slowly, it eats him alive, a Prometheus
fire lighting the sky in a fury of shooting stars.
Angela Fabunan is a graduate of Bowdoin College and an MA Creative Writing student at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. Her writing has appeared in Cha, New Asian Writing, and Eastlit magazines.