NOTES FROM THE FIELD
The worst of it happens out here, when no one is looking. No surveillance cameras, no hideaways, no witnesses. Only grass as far as the eye can see. Cornstalk the height of a grown man, its tassels rustling in the wind. All the stems leaning west. The occasional bobbing head of a makeshift man, enough to spook the birds. After the tragedy they said the fields swallowed the bodies, the way an ocean recedes to calm after a storm. It might as well have happened at sea. Every gust of wind a ripple across the plantation. Birds the only signs of life. When we pass through the Central Mindanao Highway, the driver speeds. Rebel country, he says, it’s not safe here after dark. He recounts being kidnapped here, this the same road. They came up out of the cornstalks. The men had many arms. The ears of corn turned to listen, but they could not speak. Neither could the strawmen. This was before the massacre. Since then the fields have resumed their harvest. Almost nothing to tell of what took place. When we reach the city, we breathe easy and call it a night. In my dream, the ghosts stalk the corn and rattle the scarecrows, asking to be discussed. Under the moon, everything is silver, including the grain. I look for the road but I realize I am only going in circles. When I turn the leaves, bullets fall out of their ears
Regine Cabato currently works as a journalist in Manila. She graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University in 2016 with a degree in Communication and a minor in Creative Writing. Her poetry has been published in Kritika Kultura, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, and Cha Literary Journal. She hails from Zamboanga City.