If Curiosity Kills

By Jermaine Dela Cruz

After photograph no. 4 in Hajar Kabalu’s Minsan sa may Bagsakan

Below is a bed of asphalt, surveyed
by a creature covered
not in velvet or in silk, flaunting
in muted strut
deafening silence,
preparing for hunt or coming home
no one knows.

Illuminated, the creature casts a shadow
against the grainy surface,
a bleak, distorted reflection
that mocks you with its
empty mercurial gaze
like a soul trapped in ebony cage,
an empty space, a vacuum

The absence of light is darkness
darkness is haunting
light in itself is haunting
the umbra, an illusion
of a phantom in the middle of the night
perplexed by reality and apparition intertwined
if curiosity kills, I’ll bet the nine lives.