Pillage

by. Mr. Alfred Aguinaldo Yuson

Stones. We had to deprive them of stones.
Clearing the paths to the village, we sent
the old men and the children home. Flowers.
No one could ever raise a yard of color.
Our machetes went to work. The women wept
when they saw how sweat beaded our brows.
The river flowed, now as fast as stories told
of loss of face. How could they smile toothily
at one another, even when mornings promised
our departure? How can they look one another
in the eye, thump breasts and shoulders, suckle
from mothers? Their mountains were as forlorn.
Without stones, without flowers. But that is how
wars are won and dark souls are remembered.

So said our generals, who always knew better.
We had to suck away their spirit, leave no chance
for rebirth of courage. We took away all their stones, 

the polish of their dreams. 

We buried the love that made them strong. 

We burned all buds and flowers. 

Now there are no heroes even in their bravest songs.