Marías at Sampaguitas
Poetry by Christian Aldana
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.