Human Kinetics

by Prof. Sarah Raymundo

(for Sherlyn Cadapan*)


I picture you swiftly

running around

the track reserved for athletes:

sprinting soles spiking tired

carabao grass.


Like those childhood dragonflies

that eluded chasing

they say you didn’t want to be

bothered while you do this.

Not for lunch, not for a radical chit-chat,

not for a high-five.


My lover says you were in his class.

How was she like?

He does not remember

a time when you weren’t disappeared.

It’s what keeps him still,

hopeful and with context.


Your mother believes

you did a Houdini.

And that great escape keeps you

roaming invisibly in regions

only she can map with gut-feel,

with hope and in desperation.

You are now her legendary Amazon.


Did I mention running this morning?

Sometimes when I put on

my running shades, I utter “Cadapan”

as I face the mirror with a triumphant smile.

Sometimes I think of going beyond

the awkwardness of being in a shirt

draped with warm sweat and tears.


You were there, your presence ablaze

amidst a crowd of bewildered shoppers

and striking workers.

The mall entrance staged

your very own dance steps

to the tune of Henry Sy’s loud music

that meant to drown

the megaphone which owned up

to  your smoking agit-prop.

I still come to SM Cubao, Sherlyn.

And  I don’t always remember you when I do.


I still come to mass demonstrations

to picketlines, to Mendiola, to Liwasan.

And not for the way we were.

But to claim time,

to claim history.

A  miracle does not happen

when we revolt.

Only us.

*August 30 is the International Day of the Disappeared. Sherlyn Cadapan was disappeared on June 26, 2006. She was abducted with Karen Empeno by military elements in Hagonoy Bulacan. Both of them ARE students of the University of the Philippines-Diliman who struggled for a mass oriented, scientific and nationalist education by working for and with the farmers in Bulacan. Sherlyn was the College of Human Kinetics Representative to the University Student Council. We were with the political party STA ND-UP during our college days. Sherlyn was two months pregnant at the time of her abduction. Raymond Manalo in his sworn affidavit testifies to the torture and abuse that Sherlyn went through while in the hands of the military.


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