LATE BLOOMS: Seven Bullets*

*Dedicated to Albert Cyril Lim Ouano (Cor Jesu College Class of 1990), gunned down in Digos City on the night of 16 January 2017

Strangers, we
weren’t exactly
but I didn’t
I don’t
know you

Our paths
once crossed
but we
never were
not ever

I don’t even
remember when
but it has been
years ago —
“Hi,” I said to you
and you said, “Hello.”

Then I read
an FB news feed:
you’d been killed!
By seven bullets felled,
assailant unknown,
motive unfathomed.

Will your death
just be another statistic
in the state of lawlessness,
daily dose of DUIs,
and alleged EJKs
that the new normal is?

A faceless number,
just another murder,
subject of rumor
and conjecture
over bottles of beer
promising a hangover.

But you’re more than that
to those whose lives you touched:
You will always be part
of a fondly remembered past,
and as you to the Great Yonder depart
you leave an aching void in their heart.

(Eric S.B. Libre is a Mindanawon freelance development consultant who has done some work in a number of conflict-affected areas of Mindanao and occasionally dabbles in creative writing. He lives in Digos City, and is proud to be a senior citizen.)