When the Soul Sleeps

by Jermaine Dela Cruz (Poetry)

Portraits of Death

crimson blood
flowing through the gutter
white cloth
folded in two
half-covered body
bruised eye
swollen lip
broken rib
missing tooth
pale skin
strands of hair
scattered on the floor
scent of flesh
lingers in thin air

droplets of water
falling from the patched roof
little creatures
squealing, screeching
over a piece of bread
ragged children
slumped on the corner
they call her mother
tired eyes
fixed on the walls
in deep thought
tears unuttered

red carpet
laid along the aisle
floral-filled rows
people dressed in pastel
empty the halls
one by one
man in suit and tie
golden ring held in hand
a letter on the other
words scrambled on sheets of paper
but all he could see is “Sorry.”
church doors shut

pen and paper
half-empty cup
ten pages of enigma
blank spaces and question marks
staring on the floor
in search of an answer
trying to recall
a missing chapter
clock strikes nine
time is up


Winter Solstice

’tis the time of year
when the sky appears bleaker
than it did
day has closed
its eyelids tighter—
longer nights
shorter days
bears of the North
pulling their blankets
for hibernation has come.

’tis the time of year
when things wrapped in gold,
red and blue
surround the tree
adorned with things
sparkling and shiny.
‘Tis the season
of merry-making
of thanksgiving
to Him whose love
has sent a Boy
to save the world.

’tis the time of year
when sock-adorned windows
wait for the potbellied man—
he wears red and white
his beard as white as snow
they say he rides on a sleigh
with reindeers pulling
Rudolph leading
flying, gliding
but none has ever seen one.

growing up, I learned
that ’tis the season
not made for kids
but a time for all
to laugh
to love
to celebrate
to breathe
to forgive
to accept differences
to give hope.

when winter wind
has breathed its first
December clock
will tick and tock
on longer nights
and shorter days
it’s time to pause
and ponder.

’tis that time of year.