Bright Lights on the Water’s Surface


If only the world was a crystal ball, and I was given magic
to dive deep into the darkest depths
and never drown in the visions of what could be,
I could have been a surer man — not by confidence,
but through assurance that in the things I’d do
I would be stronger, better, happier.
But I can barely swim, and I can’t hold my breath any longer
than it takes for the carbon dioxide to cloud my brain
to near death. At the edge of life,
there’d be no magic to save me from the hallucinations
my mind creates. Or are they dreams? Are they mine?
Are they truths that I am yet to realize?
On the water’s edge, on top of rock and sand and concrete,
above the sparkle of the reflected holiday lights, I ask the sea:
“Who should I be? What should I do?”
And I wait there wishing that the breeze would whisper,
that the lights on the surface would spell it out.
Despite my questions, despite my pleas,
the sea below me was still as dark as the nighttime sky,
and its surface, smooth like a mirror, reflected nothing else:
only me.

Junelie Anthony Velonta was born in Dumaguete City. He graduated from Philippine Science High School—Central Visayas Campus in 2015 and is now pursuing a Physics degree at Silliman University.