Dinah Roma, born in Samar (Philippines), an island known for its bluest waters
and unforgiving typhoons. She grew up in Manila and went to De La Salle
University for a double degree in Literature and Marketing Management. She
spent 5 years in Japan to study its language and earn her MA in Comparative
Culture. In Manila, she teaches at De La Salle University's Department of
Literature, where she is completing doctoral studies in literature. Her poetry
and dancing redeem her.

After Prayers

You are the ember atop
the incense stick,
a stillness before the quiver,
the soft ashen fall
that calls to fragrance
the breath
beneath our prayer.

You are the vespers
of a plea,
feast of dusky skies;
the stark rush
and ascent of grace
past the austere
of lent.

You are the mist
veiling our sight at night,
a benediction
of clasped hands
redeeming as the vigil
of a moment's unfolding,
penitential as the icons
pressing against
our hearts.

Maya, Rekindled

Scaling distance to warmth,
you held this hand
as the night's mist
on my hair.

Earlier the day,
I would have thought
it illusion. The ground
you stood on, space
limned to emptiness -
heart ushering another
to shadowy brilliance.

Elsewhere now,
she awaits
each day

To Love Unknown

Over the night, the snow has settled into a familiar thickness. The adjacent cafe is still in its neon rapture while the gray rooftop across glitters in the night's unceasing softness. Today, the room is suffused with a fierce lustre, just as when you left early dawn and left your tracks deep in the snow outside the porch winters ago.

There was something in your faltering steps; the way your head pulled to the ground that told of an incipient loss. I wanted to call you back in, into the reliable dimness of my room, into that corner you always sulked against after an impossible day, to welcome the bright and calm. But you had left before I knew.

Who would have thought winter deceives this way? Was it the cold language strangely thawing names? Was it the walls binding us to light and space that shadowed discontent? Wasn't it you who argued, on the day when distance became unbearably winter itself, that home is joy revived repeatedly? I have since sought affinity from currents of air and oceans, circled heart's geography, but each time I step into the room, I am farther away from presence.

The snow falls. Everything outside humbled.

Here, The Story

Here, you shall find the story
as the sun rims brave
your heart for the familiar
call to the inhabitable.

Curl to my side
and I am moon,
precious flesh of light,
a gift supine
on the orb of your eyes -
depth to my precipice.

Grieve what your voice
knows of love's edge,
and the heart, moved
before its first sorrow,
will wander deep
into harsh origin - joy
wounding core.

Before dusk slows
down the hours and the air
wearies your words,
tell me the story:
how bodies grazed
assemble earth.

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