Dear 2009, hello. It’s 11:50 p.m., December 31st, and in ten minutes I will go out of this room and walk on the gunpowder-laden streets of Manila and think of something to say to you. Shall I begin by telling you that tonight it rained? Tonight fireworks tore water from the sky and as the rain fell along with it spiralled a feather. Feathers, many feathers. Or stray scraps of unburnt firework-wrapper, but no matter, 2009, tonight it rained and the many wounds my streets hold so dear healed with the colors blossoming in the night-sky. Still there are more ghosts to drive out, and still the devils with their small voices whisper from their corners, but no matter; I live in a country that never runs out of fireworks, of wakefulness, never empties its pockets of promises: I will wear my old clothes more often, 2009, and I will climb every staircase I see and I will offer a poem to every child who asks me for coins. I will press my cheek against more mountains, and I will whisper a secret to every tree, and I will sift through the rain for the spaces that cradle silences. It is raining, 2009, and already the first street-sweepers are casting their shadows on your first lampost-lit morning, whispering their first prayers, their first downcast promises. I am sharing this with them, 2009, with every lifting of smoke, with every distant echo, the last breaths of a year weighed down by its own luminosity: Tonight it rained, and as I lean into you, into every flicker of light, into this particular birthing of time, let me mold a basin out of my mud-laden heart, and use it to catch the sound of a lone feather touching ground.