• Marías at Sampaguitas

Poetry by Christian Aldana

An affirmation

for the Asian women in my life, may we one day be free


We look up at the sky and see blue; uninterrupted

and no one tells us we need to step out of the sun

our skin a cloudless glow, we stretch

into our bodies, our wrinkled, our dimpled, our angled, our soft

bodies, our interlaced hands, all of us expanding, unbordered

we nourish ourselves with gusto, we guffaw, we gossip

over the steady thud of mortar and pestle

grinding secret out of spice

our information trade keeps the community safe

we stay safe, we smile for ourselves, a constellation of faces

that can’t be lost in shame or shadowed in expectations

our hurricane spirits tear down pedestals

and build altars to ourselves, we hallow

our own bones and together break curse

upon curse upon curse we begin anew

we belong here, and everywhere

we plant our roots in a sky we don’t have to hold up

we are all free. we are all, we are, we

we are alive. are alive. alive.




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.

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