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Home Art and Culture Panitikan <strong>Death in the morning</strong>

Death in the morning

<strong>Death in the morning</strong>
Scene from Kiri Dalena and Sari Dalena ‘s The Guerilla Is Poet. Kerima Tariman and Ericson Acosta as film actors. Photo by Kiri Dalena.

DEC 03, 2022 7:18 PM

(This poem was written in the morning of  November 30, upon confirmation of the killing of  Ericson Acosta, the author’s son-in-law, by the military force in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental.  In August last year, Tariman’s daughter and Ericson’s wife, Kerima, was also killed in an encounter between the New People’s Army and the military in Silay, Negros Occidental.

(Nov. 30 has been declared a holiday to mark the birth of Andres Bonifacio, dubbed as the father of the Philippine revolution.)

One more time

You rewind another life

Gone at fifty

With just his poems

For his only son to peruse

As last mementoes.

No more time to grieve

The container of sadness is dry

From previous year’s constant grief

You have rehearsed this before

Going to a roomful of dead people

And identifying your loved one

And then you bring him

To nearest crematorium

To later settle in an urn

Of memories.

There is no time

For bitterness

Or rancor.

They have chosen

Another way to live

And reach their ideal


For the hungry

And the oppressed

And constantly coping

With well-funded

Lackeys of war.

A day before his death

He was talking about

Seeing a doctor

For his recurring ailment.


He didn’t make it

To his doctor’s appointment.

From what I heard

He was arrested alive

And later riddled with bullets

Typical of dogs of war.

His son expected

To see his father

In detention

For a last hug and embrace.

But early morning

Of a fateful Thursday

He is gone.

His mother for the last time

Lifeless on a cold stretcher

In a morgue

In the shadow of Mt. Silay.

I can only rewind

Fifty years of his life

And forty two years

Of my daughter’s life.

Am figuring out his grave:

Should I bury him

Beside my daughter’s crypt

Or beside his father’s tomb

In another town?

I am airport-bound

Once more

For last appointment

With the departed.

I have come to terms

With this life

As I have lived it.

Happy my loved ones

Have come to terms

With dying

The brave way

Ericson Acosta with son Emmanuel at Kidney Center in 2013. Photo from FB page of author.