Obituary (A Poem)

I only knew one
out of the
one thousand, two hundred
and sixty-eight;
Knew only one family out of the more
than one that was wiped out;
And we usually frequented
the safer side of the city
But I knew every single one of you.

Years ago
Your coins mixed with my fare;
We grumbled together in long lines
at Ororama;
You took my spot in the motorela
after I disembarked;
Your tables were bussed
so I could take your place
after you had eaten your dinner.

We met on the spit-stained sidewalk;
I ignored you.
I get out of it by saying
You ignored me, too.

We just did not
drown in the same
streetlights at night
Nor drown in the same
darkness that night
For when the blackouts came
I was not even in our city
For I was safe
and you – are dead – were not

There will be
nights of wondering
where your souls have gone.
I only know one name
out of the
and hundreds
now etched
in stone and
it is not yours.
We were never kindred,
not by gold
nor by water nor by blood.
You will be missing from me

No one I know reads obituaries
in the newspaper
but forgetting is not an option now.
Requiescat in pace.

In blue shirt: Lourdes V. Ragandang, died 2011.