It happened, I think, at Ayala Triangle
In the back of a cab that said *Aircon* like
All the others. A necessity on a typically muggy
December day in Manila. Throngs of people
Released for lunch,
Moving in-between the idling
Cars that make Roxas, Makati, and
Ayala look more like that Disneyland parking lot
We'd lost our car in during our first trip together
Than the three main arteries
Trisecting the heart of
Homeland's financial district.
I wish I could bring all of this home to you.
The hanging lanterns in the garden trees
Gleaming bright white against the
Verdant leaves in the sun.
The sharp smell of diesel mixing with the
Sweet scent of steamed rice
From the restaurants crammed with workers.
Cataloging the cart with the daffodil painted on the front
Selling the best *espasol* I'd ever had
On the way to Tagaytay
And the street vendors I’d met near Araneta
With these barbecue sticks laid thick with
That sugary-savory combination
Unique to our people
And the Sari Sari store my aunt owns
Where they all say it’s past time for me to
Find a wife.
I choke back the melancholy of
Your absence with the silent promise to
Bring you back someday.
And so, it was there,
In the back of the cab
Stopped in work day traffic at the foot of
The Child of the Philippines
That I realized I loved you.