Letter to Lola

As you rest in power, I can’t help but to think of a string of apologies that I’ve kept at the back of my throat
The strength in holding them weakened my voice
So I apologize for staying silent for so long,
I’m sorry I’ve missed you

I’m sorry for my absences
I never thought my attendance would matter in the long run
I skipped quality time for time that ticks money
And now I’ll never be able to share my wealth with you
The times I’ve spent while away
While paying my dues
While making sure that I was okay, first and foremost
If there is one thing university taught me, it’s that skipping classes will have you miss out on key lessons – and most times they’re not from the textbook

I’m sorry for being selfish
It was so hard for me to see you suffer
I watched you carry my sister, my younger cousins
As I am sure you have carried me, Chris, Jas, Kuya and Ate too
Your arms spread like Nike’s wings, you carried us to victory
Up until you no longer could
Up until we ourselves learned how to fly on our own
And had to look down to see you laying with all of your strength confined to your bed
It hurt to see you incapable
It hurt to fly without you
I promise the clouds will comfort you more than your bed ever has

I’m sorry for letting go too soon
For the times I’d see you and not hold your hand long enough
For not constantly reminding you who I was
Who I am
Anak si Pidong. Anak si Meren. Capatid si Melissa.
I will never forget the smile that shone when you remembered
It was the brightest 10 seconds before memories faded back to black

I’m sorry for not being by your side in your last moments
But I promise you I celebrated life
Especially yours and its freedom into eternity
I felt the supernova of your soul touch the atmosphere
Maybe that’s why it was scorching outside that day
I felt the heat of your steps catching every beat
I swear you were with my friends and I
You let me know that you can walk again
That you can sing again
That you remember who the fuck I am

And I know you can see and hear me better now
But I’m sorry that this is not in Ilokano or Tagalog
Though I recently developed a craving for it
I still yearn for my mother tongue
An opportunity for a seat at the table
An opportunity for a seat with you
I wanted to know your story
To capture the beginning of as far as I knew the Toquero’s ran
The start of Tita Rose’s crawl
It was the beginning of us being rooted to you
We are the fruits of your neverending labour
Though we are not your end
Your legacy will transcend generations


the start of the words i’ll never say

I wish I was in love with you
that way I have a reason to be sad
a reason to cry over you

But I’m not
[if this isn’t love, then what is it]

yet I’m sitting on waterfalls
wondering how I got here
how I got this far up
when I knew the fall will be much harder
but this hurts more than I anticipated
water crashing all around me
I’m swimming in my own pool

Tales were meant to be tales
yet this one is coming true
the one disappearing act I thought nothing of
until days rendered deserted
I was slowly becoming the ones I claimed to not be
the ones you left in the dust with no regard
when I once was held to the highest degree
and now it’s


sending daily reminders
when I know you’re no longer there
when in fact I was reminding myself,
“Hope you’re good”
I hope I’m good, too

I’ve lost count of the days
perhaps it’s been weeks
I think months now,
and I still wonder
if I am going to get the same ending
the same ghost-like hello’s after having dissipated from my periphery

But this time I won’t know for how much longer



broken telephone

“Why didn’t you tell me earlier?”

I always find myself tracing calls back
although I’ve cut my line one too many times
I swear there are no strings attached
yet my phone is still in service
all its plugs further intact
I promise I have no complaints

this time.

Reception always commonplace,
our phones more common than I thought
until notifications became a regular memo
thoughts to self, I’d call them
since my ringtone stopped hollering
for me to answer
I just answered to myself

This connection never required to dial up
upgrading the probabilities
the ignition of the right spark
networks flying in every direction
leaving marks within this circuit
a clear switch incapable of prevention
misconstrued signals skipping switches
messages slipping through the cracks
we now face a disconnection

Sorry I was under the wrong impression.

But for the times received,
the sentiments initially intended
I believed the service peaked
always a hit, never a miss
the alluring hum of the dial tone
laughter as a filler for hold music
a consideration for options
this deal almost felt exclusive

I forgot about the fine print.

Now complaints start to pile as I
secretly tested the circuits with other lines
even tried an old one just one time
the attempts to find a comparable connection
led to the discovery of inconsistent reception
yet the results are consistent enough
I stayed because you are the only exception

Though contracts are temporary
your company will always be
my favourite



I have burned myself to the core for the sole purpose of my renewal
and resurrected from the burdens of my past mistakes and decisions.

From these ashes I rise brand new
shedding any remnant of a past me you once knew
She no longer lives here
but her memories serve as lessons for as long as these wings pick up the winds beneath them
Reclaiming a newfound strength that is untouchable
feeding the stomach of her new being
she is nourished with knowledge, love, and light

Soaring to new heights, I am no longer afraid to fall
knowing I will rise once again



We were at peace in the meadows
fingers grazing the tips of the grass
outlining the sharpness of our edges
you kissed the sun with my lips
and made a bed with the flowers

I continued to chase this dream as you laid there
wide awake beside my oblivion
until your body could no longer handle the static
the numb unknowingness of your own limbs,
scared of the beat of your own heart
your soul left alongside your corpse

I woke up in a bed whose weight was filled
with only the imprint of your body
but I can still feel your heart beating
I can still feel your arm around me
cradling me
the memory hit me so vividly

But it can never replace the feeling
of your warmth radiating between the sheets
so I lay there in full consciousness
paralyzed to the fact that you went missing
I close my eyes again in hopes of dreaming
of the sun

I caught a glimpse of gray
a sluggish figure pushing both feet forward
restless but persistent on getting somewhere
its outline made out to be you
but his aura was dim
darker than I had last seen you

I observed from the distance
noticing the baggage you dragged along with you
witnessing you move along for days on end
mood never changing, only somber
slowly understanding why you left
before you could drag me along with you too

Many questions left unanswered
knowing I would have been your backbone
a lighthouse when needing guidance
though I realize this was never my battle to fight
I still wanted to be in your corner
but you never wanted me to be
so I just stand still
and wait

Time passes as my feet planted numb in the soil I stand on
watching your hands tick and feet move
to the pace of your heartbeat
it hurts to remember what that was like
and hurts to remember how strong my legs have been
all this time

So I wonder if you forgot about me already
not once have you remembered
how tall I stood
how firmly my feet have been planted
I wonder if you still care
or if you ever did
because he would have never left me
It seems that was the old you

Time continues to pass me by
until one day we meet at a crossroads
I’m standing at the edge of the meadow
you on the concrete in front of me
both waiting to see who crosses
the line