tai feng

TaclobanI know it’s time to call
for she hasn’t called me
and soon it will be obvious
that I don’t know where it is on the map
or didn’t before the newstorm broke.

unsure if there are relatives there
tentative to that particular, umbilical pain
I call her:
Ma, you okay? Do you know people?
She says that a friend already died on Sunday
and every time the news is on the Philippines
she just completely breaks down

she recounts how, last time she was back home,
there was a smaller flood and all the check out girls
you know the ones in the supermarket?
they were all washed away, practically all of them.
she’s sure it wasn’t on the news.
incredulous at Tony Abbott – $400,000?
0h my god, they should have give it back
such a pittance of pity, she’s glad now “we” have upped the ante

I make the nothing gesture, ask her if she wants to donate
as a family
but the Seniors Group at church are collecting
later they may pack our outgrown clothing
boxes of cast offs labelled neatly for
parish this, family that

she sounds so sad, so gently so,
almost unsoiling the proverb, when she says:
the world is going to the dogs.
I cave, chip off a shell grown three years strong
you should come up and visit, ma
I can let you know where I live, if you can make it.



By Eleanor Jackson

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer, cyclist, writer, gal about town, feminist, freewheeler, and friend.

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