Monday, December 9

Howl

By PATRICK V. MIGUEL

EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece is one of the works in a six-part series in line with the Dapitan 2020 theme Ina. All works that are part of the series are written by the Flame’s Letters staffers.

photo by COLEEN SHANE O. QUIAMBAO/ THE FLAME

SHE guarded the land against trespassers but the owners were the ones who trespassed against her.

There was no presence of either the moon or the sun. The sky was glassy and grey as the wind withered wildly in the moors. Maningning looked up above with her eyes full of sorrow and mourn. When she howled, the pain she showed overpowered the wild gush of wind.

Legends say that when a wolf howls under the opaque-white moon, it is because the wolf yearns to touch the moon even though it is impossible. Even though she was not a wolf, Maningning cried towards the sky, hoping to see familiar silhouettes coming toward her across the horizon.

Maningning is more than the dog who guarded the marsh. She is not just an animal taught to be savage against intruders. Unlike Achilles, there is no armor wrapped around her body—she is but a naked and vulnerable being. She runs wildly in the heath but more than that, she is a mother.

She is a mother who lost her child against her own accords. In the summer, she had four pups inside her womb. When the sun did not shine and the weather turned cold, the angels she bore were gone with the wind—stolen by her owners. There is no evidence of her maternal self except for her sagging breasts with untouched lactations.

Maningning howled; the sky was her only witness to the hope that her puppies would come back. F

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