It was a time when playmates
gather with their candy wrappers,
Coca-Cola crowns, and play moneys
at Lola Paz’s empty backyard.
He was ten, I was then six
playing inside a raunchy kamalig
with cobwebs and dust witnessing
our attempt to become parents.
When dusk scattered around
and the rooster began to perch
on the branches of kakaw tree,
when angelus could not coax us
to go home , until Nanay fetched us
holding a bitlag and her litany of curses.
But the dusk turned into night
and Nanay did not yet arrive
He and I were left, he and I
hidden in between crevices of
the greyish fences that trapped
the dilapidated hut in the backyard.
And the rustling of the kakaw leaves
badgered the silence of the night,
The rooster, in his moan-like crowing,
had the moon bled; its clot never
to heal again, never to heal again
Until the moon finally recovered
And Nanay came to fetch me,
I swore deep inside that I
will never play balay-balay again.
I will never play balay-balay again.