Passing through a small provincial town by bus

I spy a head sticking out of a dirty canal.


It’s a woman with black hair past her shoulders

And a floral pattern on her blouse.

She’s crouched down in the filth with her arms around herself

Underneath the merciless rays of the noontime sun.


I suddenly think of the recent news

About people dying from heat stroke.


I can’t get her image out of my mind.

What happened to her?

What is she doing there?


I wonder if she’s one of the many taong grasa,

Driven to insanity by hunger or poverty

Or some other unfortunate circumstance.