• Marías at Sampaguitas

Poetry by Christian Aldana

Pantoum for 2032

After Carlos Bulosan, Eman Lacaba, Mila D. Aguilar, and all my kasamas.


“A comrade is as precious

as a rice seedling

fed and nurtured

guarded from pestilence and floods”

  • Mila D. Aguilar


This is what joy looks like:

palm to palm, radiant, mga kasama.

Sing like every tomorrow is infinite,

each one of us a river, a rush, a dream.


Palm to palm, radiant, mga kasama

smile wide and drink sunlight.

Each one of us a river, a rush, a dream

unfurling into a monumental sea.


Smile wide and drink sunlight,

mga kasama. We are audacious, steady,

unfurling into a monumental sea.

Our life is a truth we have fought for.


Mga kasama! We are audacious, steady.

If a storm should crescendo, remember:

our life is a truth we have fought for,

there is nothing more precious than you.


If a storm should crescendo, remember:

we are millions enough for the thunder,

and there is nothing more precious than you,

mga kasama, holding hands, unafraid.


We are millions enough for the thunder.

We chant, laugh, and dance in the rain,

mga kasama, holding hands, unafraid:

this is what joy looks like.




Chris is a queer, multiracial Filipino poet, teaching artist and community organizer currently based in Chicago. She is an estranged American - born in LA but raised in the Philippines and Vietnam before returning to the US for university. She is the Founder and Creative Director of Luya, a poetry organization by and for communities of color. She believes deeply in using poetry to build kapwa & community, and to educate ourselves about history. Chris has performed at venues across the United States, from theatres to universities to immigration rallies. Her performances have been featured at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Stony Island Arts Bank, Young Chicago Authors, on NPR's Worldview and more. She likes her adobo with turmeric and coconut milk, her khao soi with pork, and her pho with rare beef.

Social media handles:

@xtian_as on instagram and twitter

also @/luyapoetry



This poem will also be featured in the upcoming issue, Mahal: Mahal: Who We Are, What It Cost Us, and How We Love. Expected publication date is January 2021.

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