Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Living in Limbo


I have always wondered
what limbo looked like, or where it should be.
“It’s a place for the sinless,
those who are not yet ready
to go to heaven,” I was told.

Where is it? Or how does one get there?
Nobody knows for sure.
Not my teachers, or my wise elderly neighbor
with her thick glasses as she reads the holy book.
Neither the priest, nor the nuns who taught me this.

I grew up not knowing
what or where it is or how one gets there,
until I saw her in her old age-
lying in her bed like a fetus,
cramped by unknown souls
keeping her company in her lonesome world.

Sometimes she would break into a song
she barely remembered, humming to herself -
a lullaby she always sang to her grandchildren,
or what is left of it.

There would be times when she would call out
names of friends from a distant past, or see someone
standing at the door. She would cry in desperation
saying she could not do what it was she was trying to do,
“I’m fixing the radio, you see” when it was only her blanket
she was wringing with her frail, gouted fingers.

Not knowing who I was or what it was I do,
I dare kiss her forehead. She gazes at me
blankly as a clean, white paper looks,
with nary a hint of what she thinks,
and asks “who are you?”

“It’s me, your youngest son, mom.”

It is then that I know
and how
and where
limbo is.

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