Small town girl

Home towns remind one

Of places
Where your mother went for long distance calls,
Telling hushed stories before fifteen minutes end.
Where you first learned the harsh truth
That sometimes you are judged by things you wear.
Where someone vandalized your name on church walls
The first and last confession received.

Of things
Like random stones (yes, stones) kept and called friends
Which were thrown once seen in side pockets.
Like notebooks lost where a seven year old scribbled
Silly stories and drawings one would have crumpled.
Like the first phone you had, hello kitty clad
Filled with exchanges from strangers and friends alike.

Of people
Who made fun of you in elementary school
Chanting “sinipun dinuggung sabog ang ilong”.
Who once owned heaven and earth
But whose last breath stank of the poison drank.
Everyday playmates, believing you’re friends for life
You saw the other day and averted each other’s eyes.

Of sounds
Generator’s humming as your father turns it on
Because alas, again the lights went off.
Voice actors on the afternoon radioserye
Speaking foreign even if you’re supposed to understand.
Endless scolding endless chatting endless whispering
As if everything has an equivalent word for conveying.

And finally, of opposites
Walking to school because it’s near
And wishing it’s far enough for jeepneys
Planning ahead
Falling behind
Being pressured
Not caring
Suffocating because you can stay and never leave.
Comforting because you CAN stay and never leave.


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