The Arrival


At the back of the truck,
Guns clank against
The metal floor. Rocks
And shallow craters
Mock our short naps.

Assalamo alaykom!
Welcoming men smiling,
Standing by the masjid.
Kids waving at us,
Forgetful of their white kupyas
And beaded tondongs
Gathering dust.

In my vision, Darapanan flashes
Paradise. The wrap around
My head removed,
Loosened by swift, sudden
Wind. I hold my breath,
To hear the chant of birds,
Resembling papanok sa Sorga—
The birds of Paradise.

At the back of the truck,
Hearts beat alike,
Veterans and recruits,
Willing to die
To live.

About the author

Mohammad Nassefh R. Macla

Mula sa Panabo, Davao del Norte. Tumanggap siya ng Sultan Kudarat Award for Culture and the Arts. Naging fellow ng Silliman at kasapi ng Davao Writers’ Guild.

By Mohammad Nassefh R. Macla