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.