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  • Writer's pictureMarías at Sampaguitas

Poetry by Christine Fojas

maybe this time

you hear the echoes of questions

people have asked before

with the hard answers already spilled on the ground

and you step out from the doorway of your house

into the streets of this thrumming city

and you let your flesh flow into the spaces

let your voice grow like thunder shakes the horizon

like you belong here

without apology or excuses

for ignorance, for complacence

and you name your dead, a long line of shadows,

and you are afraid to drown in the speaking, to drown 

in your own accumulated pain, in the words you’ve kept 

in the cage of your heart and the ghosts 

at your shoulder cheer with you, weep with you…

the storm knocks down the walls they have built

and the river bursts free to wash across the dry earth

and the ground is shifting in the mud under your boots

and you stomp harder at the cracked asphalt

create crevices for weeds to shoot through

and you feel like red ink dashed against the statues

trailing down to stain the earth

and you feel like thorns pressing into the meat 

of their palms curled up into fists

around the stems of white roses

with petals arrested in the act of falling

and you hear the echoes of questions

people have asked before

and they offer you the same non-answers—

the blunted edges of old rhetoric, lip service,

as if you cannot follow the threads of history

on this labyrinth-path you are walking now

as if nothing has ever changed,

or can change again

you are tired of the fear 

trembling under your tongue,

and maybe this time, this hour, this place…

Christine Fojas is a Filipino-Canadian hailing from Las Piñas City and currently living in Metro Vancouver. She has a BA in Comparative Literature from University of the Philippines and works as a library technician at Douglas College. A list of her publications can be found at her website. She is also on Twitter as @chrisfojas.

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