We went home after the burial
to a house without her.
The house assumed she was just returning late.
But it did not feel her presence that afternoon,
and the next afternoon,
and the afternoons after that.
The walls did not hear her
high-pitched giggles and calm yells.
The floor did not brush against her
wrinkled tiny feet on always-dry slippers.
The sofas did not feel her
sit still while writing her expenditures.
The TV did not hear her
commentaries about the rights of women and farmers.
The kitchen did not smell her
overcooked average-tasting viands.
The bed did not caress her
loose, warm skin, shivering in the cold.
And outside, where I used to remove her white hair strands,
The trees they planted did not blow her
short frizzy hair crazy for treatments.
The dogs did not feel her
hand patting their thick greasy fur.
I guess they would forever wonder
where she went
and when she would return.
The house stayed static after the burial
like my grief, unmoving yet brutal.
For years, I just watched—stood as stone,
realizing this is no longer my home.
Jewel Mansia (Juju Liaison) is a graduate of AB English Language Studies at Ateneo de Davao University. She was the president of SALEM-The Ateneo Literary Society for two consecutive years (2019-2021). Her undying love for her mother is mainly the subject of her works. She always go back to her grief to reignite her passion.