Childhood Elegy

By Joseph O. Legaspi

If our angels hover above us,
they will see a darkening cornfield, the spectral traces
of lightning bugs, and two brothers
lying among the stalks.
We come because sometimes it is hard to live.

The cornstalks, limp under the tropical sun,
revive in the cool of twilight.
The angels will know we have been here for hours.
They will land and rest their feathers around us
and whisper soothing names of winged things: finch, monarch,
whippoorwill, ptarmigan, Daedalus, Icarus, Gabriel…

The angels will bend down and touch their faces
onto ours and borrow our eyes: Earlier,
a horse slipped, breaking its leg.
A boy stood beside his younger brother.
Their father came into the stable, carrying a gun.
Quails flitted out of a bamboo tree; the boy 

traced the trail that had led him here,
the field tilled by the dead horse,
where his brother laid down,
dust on his cheeks.