‘The Argument’ by Camille Rivera

In the cartoon, the crab said Go on

and kiss the girl. The young lovers

in a late-night lake boat rendezvous.

First, we’ve got to create the mood.

When I was four, I pretended to be

asleep until my parents thought

they could go down the kitchen

and fight. I saw them from between

the rails of the stairs, my mother

drinking brandy straight from the bottle,

my father trying to placate her.

They were young, unmarried,

their boat about to capsize any minute.

I still remember the brown liquid

receding like the ocean in the tilted bottle,

drops of water trickling from the faucet.

Most of all I remember wondering why

he didn’t kiss her. The mood was right,

the moment calling for a gesture

that could have brought her back.

Camille RiveraPoet’s Bio: Camille Rivera is a graduate student at the University of the Philippines Diliman. She was a fellow for poetry at the Silliman University National Writers’ Workshop and Iyas National Writers’ Workshop. Her poems have appeared in Philippines Free Press, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal and QLRS.

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