Reading Simeon Dumdum’s “America”

Simeon Dumdum, Jr. has written six books, four of which won the Philippines’ National Book Award given by the Manila Critics Circle and the National Book Development Board. He works as a Regional Trial Court judge in Cebu City and lives with his wife Gingging and daughter Yeni in Mohon, Talisay City, Cebu.

America

by Simeon Dumdum, Jr.

I listened to him speak
of West Virginia
(he was born in Leyte
but was living
in West Virginia)
He spoke as they do
in the movies,
and as Ronald Reagan does
on the radio.
Even the way
he said “Virginia”
was better than the way
Hinying, a girl I knew
whose hair fell down a shoulder
like the tail of a bird,
said her name,
which was “Virhinia.”
And on that warm evening
I told myself,
That’s where I want to be,
in West Virginia, or New York,
or San Francisco,
because cousin says
everything there is big
and cheap — big chickens,
big eggs, big buildings,
And big flowers?
Cousin looked at me
and said, Yes, big roses,
tea roses, and he was
about to name other roses
but the moon was rising
and it was bigger than in
America.

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