The Cane Cutters

(for the peasants of Hacienda Luisita)

There is a fifth season: Sorrow.

Molasses of tears, payless sick days,

The syrup of misfortune.

The sweetness of sugar
Is the taste of oblivion.
A cane is a cocoon
Of centuries,
Of back-breaking labour.
The machete’s rage.
At 5:00 AM
Bodies are delivered
To the teeth of the fields.
A wind sleeps
On heavy shoulders,
Early birds sing
For another century
Of indifference,
Bodies and canes
Become indistinguishable
In the scale of profits.
Between 6:00 and 9:00 PM
They return. Torn hands,
Chewing sugarcane,
Swallowing its bitterness.

Carlo Rey Lacsamana is a Filipino freelance writer living and working in Italy.

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