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There are some truths
that don’t take breaks,
sitting awake vigilant
by the bedside
of romance,
keeping its fever in check,
monitoring its temperature.

Their eyes tell me
you’re out of my league.
That’s a blinding flash
of the obvious,
so obvious it absolutely
makes no sense:
the distance of class
stretching between
your world and mine
and our complacent hearts
like London fog
more impenetrable
than literal miles.

The caste mark
on your forehead,
the dust under my feet,
the bourgeois Taft Avenue
parking tickets,
the Archers’ bow
the color of
University Avenue trees
that bore witness to
a hundred years
of rebel Isko rallies
all form a staunch barricade.
Love is out of the question.
Not even love’s shadow.
Not even its grandchildren.
Not even the little paper parasol
discarded on the glass
from which love sipped
a casual cocktail
one insignificant afternoon.

So this malaya
takes its leave of
the maharlika,
and neither would
waste any moon phase
what is missing.

Save for the minutes it took
to write this poem.