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.


words: Rodrigo V. Dela Peña Jr., Philippines
photo: Dorothee Lang, Germany (blueprint21)


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