Family Kundiman

by Michelle Peñaloza

Song crossed our threshold after the war—
face veiled, body battered—carried by our Tatay.
Song’s stewards followed, ang Hapón ibinigay:
three wounded pianos, soundboards scarred.
Tatay coaxed keys and tuning pins, nursed
strings and worn dampers to life. Tatay
bade us play, till he wept for our Inay,
then, he lifted Song’s veil and kissed her.
What did we know of that war or his tears?
We only knew what the timber remembered:
Humming hornbeam and carved cariñosa;
love sung low through open window. Here,
within wing-shaped wood, his harana
and toil: her veil, flapping like surrender.

Last updated December 17, 2022