Soledad by Angela Manalang-Gloria
Visiting old notebooks. Ah, high school. I remember my creative writing class, and this poem. I’ve loved this woman ever since I was fifteen. Should I be surprised then at the turn of events, her influence on my own works, my voice that sometimes strangely sounds like she has her hand on my nape, her lips close to my ear, whispering incantations?
It was a sacrilege, the neighbors cried,
The way she shattered every mullioned pane
To let a firebrand in. They tried in vain
To understand how one so carved from pride
And glassed in dream could have so flung aside
Her graven days, or why she dared profane
The bread and wine of life for some insane
Moment with him. The scandal never died.
But no one guessed that loveliness would claim
Her soul’s cathedral burned by his desires
Or that he left her aureoled in flame…
And seeing nothing but her blackened spires,
The town condemned this girl who loved too well
and found her heaven in the depths of hell.