Eileen Tabios

About Long, Black Limousines In A Fifth World Country

Long as a parent's ache for a hungry child
and black as the night sky mined in vain for answers,
the limousine straddles the road insouciantly,
blocking traffic in the center of town.

The children unguarded by parental eyes
run up to the car's windows which blunt their curiosity
with ebony glass that can be penetrated
only by those on the other side. Unthinkingly,
one places his palms against the air-conditioned cool
of the window which starts to roll down in protest
against fingers recently frolicking in mud.

The face glowers behind dark glasses with gold rims;
since the face tops a tie, the child understands
the passenger is too wealthy to appreciate
that what is trodden in the humble town provide
the only affordable toys for children naked
except for thin t-shirts which lost colors long ago
and bearing holes as big as the wearers' bellies.

"Hoy, who is your father?" demands the man with a tie.
He also has three chins, implying the consistent
satiation of his hungers at which the children marvel
before they bite their lips with jealousy. "Baboy."
whispers one of the young ones. Baboy. Pig.
The child with muddied hands shushes the whisperer,
knowing the word can only make it worse
for his father whose name the man demands.

"I have no father, sir," the child replies
before deciding to run faster than he has ever ran
	in his young life,
faster than when he ran from the fists of his cousin,
	the bully,
faster than in the running contest at school for the prize
	of a bag of candy,
faster and faster from the thought, the possibility
	that he could have no father,

faster and faster and faster in training, a premonition whispers,
for all the escapes required someday during the Revolution
against the passengers of long, black limousines
who run children off roads paved for those with multi-layered chins
traveling between the palaces and pyramids
built by those who walk off the edge of roads
for the only pleasure they can afford:
the sifting caress of dirt through their toes. 

Copyright CrossConnect, Inc. 1996