We wired our brains to the rumbling of a storm

We mistook lightning for the sun
How could we keep our heads up high?

Pride lengthening our spines
As we stare up at the sky
We sang the melody of a coming land
But not for the ground on which we stand

We shove water down their throats
Each gurgle and gasp a prayer to cleanse

As if our fingers don’t line with rims of red

As if our hearts aren’t forever stained
And rotten with apathy

Eyes, nose, lips – clouded in fear
Letters and faces used to etch in my skin
Once carving themselves in my bones and dreams
Eyes, nose, lips turned into a faceless melting pot of fear and darkness – shaking lips, into a blur of flesh

Burst of profanities ring dull in my ears

As we turn screams into melodies

Their hearts beat to a jagged tune
We didn’t recognize

(Or rather, refused to hear)

Though the backs of my eyes will never fail to recognize Still, I feel her quaint fingers burn into my flesh
They were coated in blood and youth – they burned

Young eyes that shimmer should never see the dirt

When I held her life in my hands, I promise

They quivered

The tales of the fallen echo into the night
I beg, never let terror turn into lullabies
The ice may be numbing, but fire tears down walls

Let the flame keep you warm
See the thousands who lost it

Untangle the stitches forced onto your skin
And the numbness injected into your bones
Wear the wounds of your people like tattoos on a sleeve Child, let your heart beat and bleed

I remember her heartbeat in a song

So loud and so short – continues on

A symphony of loss, and love and war

I’ve learned to hum the tune


Sofia Andal is a highschool student from De La Salle Santiago Zobel. She is a finalist in the Martial Law Museum Awards Poetry Category.

The Martial Law Museum Awards is a nationwide competition for high school students that aims to promote the value of remembering our history as a nation during Martial Law and engage the youth in creative responses through literature and the arts.

Photo by John Oranga


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