for the Poet from Siasi, Dr. Anthony L. Tan
All new thinking does not involve chickens.
Which really is a big surprise, since chickens are
our favorite sacrificial lambs―their blood takes care
of the spirits that needed to be appeased.
Over a chicken dinner my mind wandered
into the fowl-filled afternoons in Camaman-an.
As expected from a time-traveling mind
which is truly arbitrary, I stand before the Estarte paintings
at Museo de Oro. In one of the paintings,
the Spanish missionaries have just arrived
on the banks of our river. They came
not to eat our chickens, of course (I’m pretty sure
they did eventually) but for something else.
In the other painting, you would not see chickens
but for some reason my mind entered the backyard
and saw the chieftain’s staff chasing chickens.
I came to conclude that special occasions such as, say,
Salangsang’s baptism into Christianity,
a chicken must die. I mean, as in right now, here,
inside The House That Fried Chicken Built,
in my godson’s baptism, chickens die yet again.
The long history of chicken sacrifice makes me wonder
how chicken souls are doing in the afterlife.
Are they fenced in still? Inside some coops, classified
according to their circumstances of death
(the way humans classify their dead—as saints, heroes)?
Or as reward, do they finally roam free
in an endless field littered with heaven-worms,
like true free-range chickens?
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