I am from hay-filled ceilings
and hard concrete floors,
to floods, ‘Category 4’ typhoons,
and volcanic eruptions
from thin blankets with gritty bamboo bed frames,
Filipino “tabos” to a clean WC.
I am also from soft fitted sheets
quiet, hollow days
and only cold showers.
I am from sweet and creamy halo-halo
hand in hand with piping hot taho
I am from musical instruments and mushroom obsessions,
wispy glowings of fungi,
from radiant mahogany Sansas
which ring out in sweet dejected longings.
I am from disappointments colliding
with high and higher standards
to organized and petty perfectionism.
Whose own caretaker said: “don’t ask for help”
to an anxious child
I am from an angry do-it-yourself mindset
from negative thoughts
to puffy eyes, sweaty hands,
and unstable feelings
influencing unbalanced routines.
I am from noisy family birthday parties
and heavy sighs.
the instigated headaches
from gossips at the table
to “why do you never talk?”
I am from the importance of respect
and from echoed words: “don’t waste food”
I am from the long visits back to Philippines
to brief chats with my father
and lasting I miss you’s
(though we never uttered a word).