(for Sharon Cabusao)

I came to know you through
tea. We usually had tea
during or after meals, while
sampling tidbits we
shared from our lives, taking a
break from our agenda.

I came to know you through
tea. You brewed herbs
for your medicine, then set
an alarm for it, for you often
forgot to turn off the fire.

I came to know you through
tea. Tea, they say, soothes the
parched soul. And whose soul is as
parched as yours, a soul striving
for freedom and justice
in this arid land?

Tea is warm. Warm also,
is the people’s embrace
waiting for you outside.

But warmer still is your life,
continuously defined by the
people’s struggle.


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