In the cartoon, the crab said Go on
and kiss the girl. The young lovers
in a late-night lake boat rendezvous.
First, we’ve got to create the mood.
When I was four, I pretended to be
asleep until my parents thought
they could go down the kitchen
and fight. I saw them from between
the rails of the stairs, my mother
drinking brandy straight from the bottle,
my father trying to placate her.
They were young, unmarried,
their boat about to capsize any minute.
I still remember the brown liquid
receding like the ocean in the tilted bottle,
drops of water trickling from the faucet.
Most of all I remember wondering why
he didn’t kiss her. The mood was right,
the moment calling for a gesture
that could have brought her back.
Poet’s Bio: Camille Rivera is a graduate student at the University of the Philippines Diliman. She was a fellow for poetry at the Silliman University National Writers’ Workshop and Iyas National Writers’ Workshop. Her poems have appeared in Philippines Free Press, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal and QLRS.