Fat Mayas

In D.C., in front of the Jefferson Building

While taking my snack,

I saw a small bird, much like

A fat maya, alone.


In the Philippines,

I mused to myself,

Mayas come in flocks,



Here they are fatter;

Still brown, after having

Earned some black,

But much less


Lithe than

Where they come from.

And they are 

Called something else,


I'm sure.

And then they do not

Flock, as they do

In their native land.


In the succeeding days

I would see one more per day,

Still alone, flying unto

Gutters and eaves.


How I grieved for them,

Full as they were

With the abundance

Of a foreign land.




May 23, 1999



Nota Bene

This poem was included in the recently-published Literary Edition of Ateneo de Manila University's Philippine Studies journal.

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