Pilgrim

My feet are scarred from all the walking.
I have treaded pebbled paths
sharp enough to leave a trail of my own blood;
I have pitched my tents on cracked soil
that begs for the company of my tears;
I have lied awake at the roadside
patiently waiting for death to pass
but was only sustained by crumbs from strangers.

It is still surreal to believe
that this hardened earth-
also lends itself to the existence
of lush forests whose grass tenderly kiss the blisters on my soles;
of loam that yields itself to the turn of the seasons;
and of fine sand still clinging even if i shake them off.

The heart of a pilgrim
is always indecisive.
Torn between making a home in a place you feel loved,
and knowing that there is no permanency on any land.
Only continuous walking.

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Providence

Nights like these:
when the last traces of sunlight radiates
from your hand
into my cheek.

Salt in tears:
the base ingredient
for both joy and sorrow.
Felt in our tongues,
twisted layers of silent repining-
something we had to share
and go through
to realize the bittersweet taste
of departures.

Comfort of solitude:
Wandering through the desert,
making homes in makeshift tents,
acknowledging the fire within my body,
and finding means to tend its flames.

The gift of birth pains:
Learning the art of breathing
as water breaks from within.
Just when I was about to drown
in an ocean of self-induced penitence,
Life springs forth from the swell,
bursts the bubble,
and cries out for my name.

Message through the Blackhole

Dear God, hello.

It’s I—
Your errant kid who still sits at the back of church pews,
having trouble in the women’s section of your long dining table,
questioning the dress code, trying my best to chew with my mouth shut,
and also wondering if I am legitimate here?
Are my queer friends here too?

While I’m at it, can I also ask?
Is this a personalised course meal, or can we select anything from the menu?
Because my mother keeps on playing with her soup,
silently hoping that the next meal would come
before she scrapes the bowl dry.
All the while, my sister is being berated
for her impetuousness of having steaks
for breakfast.

Regardless, i would like to say grace
for having the banquet table constantly filled.
We just ain’t sure if you like us to eat it.
I mean, we sorta developed
a post-traumatic disorder for picking
one of the fruits in your garden.

And because we are not sons,
we are double-shamed for every china piece
that got broken
for being too loud, or for liking something else,
or sometimes for forgetting to say
‘pretty please’ and ‘thank you.’
I even heard one of your boys say we ought to eat the crumbs
that fall from your table.

Maybe that’s one of the reasons why some
of us here have grown extremely meticulous,
trying to prove their worth by
depriving themselves of the joys of dessert.
While others just swallow what is given to them
so that nobody could question their presence
turning a blind eye from predators who warn girls not to touch
that black forest cake
just so they can secretly pluck
the cherry toppers for themselves.

Still, i thank you for the abundance of fortune cookies
which you made available for each and everyone
who tries to find reason in the chaos that we made for ourselves.
They make up for the rest of the dinner conversation
while we all wait for You
to chime the glass bell.

I would also like to apologise.

I know it’s bad manners to tell you, the host,
these kinds of things.
I was taught to smile and trust that everything will be fine,
that this party is the best, and im sooo fortunate
for securing myself a seat,
but some of your close friends say
You’d appreciate our genuine feedback

Im also sorry for the times when I asked you for something
Only to change my mind
(i.e. my job)
Oftentimes I find myself not too sure
if my tastes have significantly changed,
or was I just influenced with what others are eating.
I don’t find milk as appealing as wine now,
but thank you for being aware of those nights
when i need my chocolate chip cookies
dunked in full-cream milk,
and for those aperitifs best paired
with your hand-painted sunsets.

Thank you for giving me time to chew
before I can fully swallow the magnitude of your presence,
for being invited to your party
despite my introvert tendencies,
and for seating me beside people
who have different ways of looking into things.

Thank you for letting
parts of you be embodied in metaphors
that we guests cannot fully grasp
try as we might.
And for not answering all queries or everything at once,
but assuring us that there is order at the head of the table
even though how far-placed my seat is to you.