Mother goes out

with a mask on

buys fruit

comes home

says it is alright

see, we have santol

we eat the bitter lining

with salt

 

every night before bed

my son prays

for the quarantine to end

he asks if he can play

with the boy next door

I say no – that little boy

runs around

without a mask

 

an old man

rummages through garbage

 

paano na si Manong

a friend asks

but I cannot stop

thinking about

my father

sweetheart

I have lung cancer

he did not live

to wheeze

through a mask

 

this is a parable

this must be a parable

there must be something

somewhere

 

an old man

rummages through garbage

 

he finds a used surgical mask

he wears it

 

this is a parable

do you still not understand

Jesus said to the disciples

their faces

all

blank

all

masked