• Marías at Sampaguitas

Poetry by Victoria Bautista

Sampaguita


Would you have loved me

If they called me Jasmine

Instead of Sampaguita

If my name sat familiar

Like Smith, or King, or Roe


Would you have brought my bouquet

To your mother if I could crush

The foreigner from my name

Distill myself into a perfume or jasmine tea


Tint my skin lighter, lighter, lighter

To match the holy white of a sampaguita

To match the empty hue of common jasmine

How much do I change for you

To say you love me beyond closed doors


Because you said you’d love me in the dark

You said it quietly—so I had to lean in close

I had to keep you near so I could hear it

My face turned up to yours

Like flowers to sunlight


I wilted in your shadow

Shrank and grew colder

My face turned up to yours

Like flowers reaching for sunlight

Contorted to find room to grow


But in your absence


I grew out wildflowers from broken vines

Reached up to the sky and blossomed

Kept myself warm enough to bloom each morning year round without you

And in this morning hour I remembered my name

Like a melody

Like a prayer

Slipping from lungs to lips to air

Feeding the flowers so they too can grow




Victoria Bautista (she/her) is a FilAm poet from Oklahoma and Bacolod City who consistently mixes up Illongo works she learned from her mom and Tagalog words she learned from her pops. She currently resides in Washington, D.C. and works in government to pay for a never ending quest to find the best halo halo in the DMV. She has performed and competed in slam poetry since 2012 and this is her first published work. You can find her on Twitter @victoriainspace.

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