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  • Writer's pictureMarías at Sampaguitas

Poetry by Jean Allynn


how can we start this dialogue?

we fill our screens with recycled stories

we fill our screens with waves of hellos and goodbyes,

gaps of silence in between

we prop these screens up to open casket viewings,

meals we can't prepare,

cemeteries we can't light up,

chairs and tables we're building from afar

how do we begin to explain the gut wrenching pain to leave

how do we say our lives are not much better, but still better from what home is now

how can i ask ate,

what do you remember when the lahar washed over our land?

who looked for you?

how can i ask ma,

why did you save your uniforms instead of holding on to your two small children?

how can i ask dara,

what was it like on the steep yero roof, waiting for relief?

a break.

how can i ask what it's like to tread on hardened mud,

stepping on hands that once waved for help

searching for ingkong,

a safe haven

how can i ask which generation started this cycle of violence:

trading water for liquor

trading bills for cards

trading love for fists

tug of war with 5 month old babies

how do we show up in our stories,

when elders are no longer around?


in between meals we break open the untrodden memory lanes

if you smell sampaguita, the ancestors are watching over you


as i feel the duwendes playing,

lifting me in the air,

hiding my pens,

neatly folding my socks

tabi-tabi po

go to the manghihilot in the mountains

manong has treated all of us

drink your salabat when you’re sick

eating bulong bayabas is more than a prank for your pinsan

offerings of lit candles, desserts, and flowers every year

how do we spill all the secrets of our past?

i sit across my therapist at 27

the first of my lineage

survival woven in and out of timelines




jean allynn (she/siya) is a sober, queer femme Kapampangan settled in the Territoy of the Mississaugas of the Credit. She is a member of a neurodiverse arts collective and a facilitator of sorts. Follow her on Instagram at @jnllynn.

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