nothing has changed only the forms of it

nothing has changed
only the forms of it

when we wedded
the struggle brought us
before a mayor
who joked, run
as fast as you can
don’t let the dictator catch you

nothing borrowed
we grabbed what we could
for as long as they’re white
your mother shed a tear
your father shook his head
thinking, a pig and cow
should have been slaughtered
for the firstborn’s wedding
and the whole village
invited to feast

my mother and father
stood by quietly, stoically
watched the 15-minute ritual of their first daughter’s wedding
in a small room where 
balut is bountiful

we were on the run
there was no time for pancit
or even a burger in a restaurant
it was simple and calm
no cameras, no friends to witness
for they, too, had gone

nothing has changed
only the forms of it

the honeymoon was a set of political tasks and briefings
in an underground house
with strangers as instant comrades
if was a life we never imagined
when we held hands in
the campus of our youth
snuggled between marx and mao

you, now in an urn
under the pine trees
and am wheelchair bound,
searching for memories
and fading photographs

nothing has changed
only the forms of it


Aida F. Santos
Aida F. Santos
Aida F. Santos won awards in the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Gawad Gantimpala and The Free Press literary contest. She was a writing Fellow for the UP Creative Writing Center and was an awardee for the BAYI Centennial Awards 2011 for feminism and leadership. She won the UMPIL Gawad Balagtas for Filipino poetry for 2020 and is included in the Cultural Center of the Philippines Encyclopedia of Artists and Writers. Her Mangled Mornings, Collected Poems and Pana-panahon, Tinipong mga Tula were published by Gantala Press in 2019.


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