Her eyes used to stare back at me,
the empty look she gave
haunting me in my child-like daze.
Her face was a mass of pencil strokes,
lovingly preserved under glass and a picture frame.
I wonder how he captured that look;
I never dared to ask.
Even when he came,
like a ghost in the night,
I never spoke the name,
next to his.
It was only for a moment
that the artist came into my life,
and as he left for the final time,
he took her with him,
the Manobo girl whose face I could not ignore,
leaving my wall unadorned.
Note: I have an uncle who is a visual artist currently living in the United States. Growing up, I was rather entranced by a sketch he made of a Manobo girl’s face (for a little background, the Manobo are an ethnic group of people living in the Mindanao region of the Philippines). That sketch is no longer here in my home, as he had them collected to be brought back with when he returned to the US after a brief visit a couple of years ago.