As children, we are taught to avoid the darkness,
we are taught to seek the light. I grew up within
the confines of light, the nights fluorescent
and days ablaze. But I wondered, I wandered
away. I gravitated to shadows growing
from the feet of buildings, shadows shrinking
under the weight of blinding sunlight.
I was enthralled how shadows glided through
the asphalt, those traveling companions
of smog-spewing buses. There was a shadow
beneath a bridge, permanently on the river.
I had nightmares, the shadow of sleep, and imagined sleep
as the shadow of waking. I listened to the silent
shadow of voices, looked through the secret
shadow of a smile: poison behind a kiss. Shadows
slipped through my fingers like so much black, black water.
Shadows fell; all the world was a shadowplay.
And in a total eclipse, I was consumed by the moon's
pitch-black shadow overshadowing all shadows.
Rodrigo V. Dela Peña Jr., Philippines
photo: Dorothee Lang, Germany (blueprint21)