“The Night Before the Storm”







The night before the storm arrived
They huddled inside their living room
And watched the news. They wondered
What signal number 4 will feel like.
No one knew. Their lolo and their lola
Cannot recall a time when their
Province experienced such a storm.
Maybe it happened long ago and
They were too young to remember.
The news anchors and afterwards
The President of the Republic himself
Looked and sounded grave: This
Typhoon is big, is powerful, is
Monstrous. They looked up at the ceiling
And tapped the walls of their room and
Wondered whether their house will hold.
And what is a “storm surge”? They
Heard that the sea will rise from the
Shore and extend its reach inland.
But is that something they should
Worry about? Will they get wet?
Will the currents be strong? But
They’re prepared. They bought noodles,
Sardines, rice, water, matches, and candles
From the neighborhood sari-sari store
That afternoon. They also brought out
Their jackets and blankets, although it was
Still humid. They heard their neighbor’s
Laughter. Someone was coughing across
The street. They opened their window and
Peeked outside — the night was perfectly still
And the stars were clearly visible. They
Turned the lights out, prayed, and closed their eyes.
And then they waited. They waited for morning.


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