Psalm for Mary Jane Veloso

Praise the monstrous body, too enormous to describe. When the tongue is taken, how may the mouth even try.

Praise the bitch slapped face, the hemorrhaged eyes. The cluster. The clot. We thin our blood, we run. We run, and we always look back.

Praise the trafficked body, the one that is excised. On smartphones, with hashtags, we lament the phantom part.

Praise the foreign object rushing to the heart. That is you, the help, the heroine. We pump our fists for you, isang bagsak!

Praise the ever-present lens, the firing squad shoots every curse and plea. Your breath is a miracle, a lifeline, a headline.

The old you is dead. Praise for her soul. We offer to her our last Lacrimosa. Praise the new you, the chrysalis, the secluded saint.

Praise you. May you emerge, graced and gospeled. Unjudged, unfallen, and the color of sky.

Barbara Jane Reyes, "Psalm for Mary Jane Veloso." Copyright © 2017 Barbara Jane Reyes. Used by permission of the author for PoetryNow, a partnership between the Poetry Foundation and the WFMT Radio Network.
Source: PoetryNow (2017)
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