After Joshua Jennifer Espinoza’s “A Guide to Reading Trans Literature”
picture I was defenseless right underneath of him when he shattered the lock so forcibly that night.
picture you were under my clothes
something in you
had been raided, stolen. Now picture you are… breathing.
Philippines is the phantom,
It trembles at times, too.
Rage of an inevitable force cracks concrete slices lands
Island splits islands
moved by the gushing muddy floods with rats’ pees swimming cockroaches
some aboard pieces of ripped cardboard boxes float…
pieces of papers drowning between these islands before the thick humid air blew.
We felt the motion as our bodies were forcefully swayed back and forth, side to side. We felt light on our feet despite putting pressure on our bodies to try to have control over it. Keep our balance. Prevent ourselves from falling. We close our eyes. Open our eyes!
Now picture we are ….breathing.
I didn’t have the knowledge for my body so I’d say I was a rag the stain
or simply just something too alive …needed to die.
but I didn’t die, though sometimes I DID want to – I’m one
of the unlucky ones the chosen ones you can feel pity about that // us
it’s okay to feel pity
cause I try to heal
but Dad says if I reveal
I’ll always have to feel
(and he’s yet to know what It is that I conceal)
so all I can do is hint It to him through Skype because he is in the phantom.
the same thing happened
To my half-sister I’ve never spoken to
my entire life
she lives with It
she was four, Dad said.
He knew her It, but not my It.
and I’m in America though grew up round Manila
never have I ever in Tagalog spoken about written about It
cause I don’t know how
I was seven eight nine I want to say I need to say
because someone might ask
when it happened // when I [she] was in the Philippines.
we’re living and we’re really afraid // I’m living… and I’m afraid
we keep living despite being // because we are victims
but when do we become survivors,
if at every breath is a recollection a reliving of our victimization…