by Lawrence Diasnes

El Niño
If you ask me
how goes the summer,
picture everything bleached under
the sun’s discriminating eye,
no birds to ruffle
the glaring stillness
they have evacuated
in praise of shadows,
or imagine my body
dripping warm honey instead,
though I refuse to bare my skin,
my hair slick, my mind thrown
out the window, out in the open,
under the mahogany,
cocooned in a duyan
tied around dreams of Alaska.
I whistle to seduce the wind,
commission the sugarcanes to sing,
I feel between my fingers
every bead of sweat, every drop
a word to a prayer for rain,
I trace water vapor circles
in the air that draws its breath
from a desert too far to see
yet close enough to burn.
The space between us is red-hot
with the temper of Mayon.

La Niña
Your thunderstorms brought up
the cause for alarm
in the weatherman’s prognosis,
the pregnant clouds bear the sea
over the dam that withholds
the danger of excess,
the risk of collapse.
If I ask you how goes the Pacific,
tell me to imagine a downpour,
though our country stands
far from the perils of wildfire,
your heart runs
along the spillway,
skirting around thoughts
of overbearing the floodgates.
If I tell you
that I understand your calamity,
will you spare the gardens,
break our soils gently,
dampens our dusts,
wait for the sunflowers
to go out of season,
or will you bypass all forecasts
and block up the exits,
let the rain gods splurge
on evaporated devotions,
tally the casualties.
If I confess
that I have misunderstood
your weather,
will you teach me
to despise the heat
without dousing the sunny day,
count my blessings
should Manila sink
and our house endure—
to pray for rain
without leaving to drown
those with no continents
under their feet.