Rinsing rice

I fed two takal of rice

Into the newly washed pot.

Scooped water for rinsing.

Fumbled, stirred the seeds

Of Tatay’s perspiration.

Spilled the milky water.

Poured out slowly until it subsided.


I saw Nanay outside

Retrieving the laundered clothes.

I remembered what she uttered a while ago:

Noy, when will we be lifted

From this poverty?

Again, ginat’an shall be our breakfast tomorrow.

When could you rinse rice again?”



Though the sun has just awoken in the east,

We two already get up

To saunter along the paddy bunds

Until we reach the river bank

Where we tethered Kabaw.


Whenever you untie the rope,

I would cling on to your shirt at once.

Whenever you let Kabaw wallow in the bog,

I would grab your forearm–

To your ire for I am coward.


When we return, the sun already glares above

And those memories linger.

Like amorsecos, they cling on–

Hang on to my shirt’s hem,

Grip on my mind’s fringes.


Steps away from me 

Faded have become the flowers

That I offered you.

But my memory is tinged still

By your lips’ crimson.


Anyhow, I hope

You gather, keep

Those faded flowers

Besides the thorns

Between the pages

Of your mind.


Cold has become the scalding coffee

That I made for you

But in my heart stays

Your breath’s warmth.


True, because anyhow

I shall sip, slurp

This cold coffee

Up to its dregs

At the bottom of the bitterness

Of your smile.


Yes, for even rose thorns

Tickle the pain away.

For even coffee dregs

Quench the thirst away.


Hence, worry not.

Go, tread on, walk away.

For I shall just booze this longing.

I shall just nibble on this wistfulness.


For all that alight, take flight.

For all that are abandoned, move on.

Hence, lament not

For I’m already used to hearing

Fleeting steps

Away from me.



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