Etched

Fiction by | June 29, 2020

Francis looked at the scars on his thighs as if seeing them for the first time, feeling the need to rehearse his response to all possible reactions. Pity. Shock. Disgust. He would squeeze his thighs together, like sealing an envelope of secrets. Some curious guy would part them gently the way one would do with the envelope flap he did not want damaged. The guy would examine the scars – keloid that spread across his skin, inching towards his knees but only touching them tangentially. Like some careless cartographer’s map, his scars enveloped his thighs without discipline, without any amount of beauty and symmetry, as if each extra skin was in disagreement with another. Raising his head, the guy would ask Francis, just as he expected, What happened?

This time, Francis would not hesitate to answer. He would not describe it as a childhood accident one night when the power was out and he was dumb enough to play with the kerosene. The guy would instead lie beside Francis and gently pull his face towards his chest where Francis could rest it, and with his trembling fingers tracing the hem of the thin, thin sheets where they tucked themselves in, Francis would take the guy to Sitio San Roque, where he spent most of his childhood.

Francis might be able to tell him several things about the place, but he would not want to digress too much, for digression had become his coping mechanism – an opportunity to piece together inside his head what he was supposed to say next or a chance to hesitate to tell the truth. He would strategically start at that moment when he sneaked out of his house the night of the fiesta to see the annual Miss Gay pageant.

How old were you then?

Ten.

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Between Pages

Poetry by | April 5, 2015

(for him, who breaks my heart without knowing it)

i press you–
like a leaf–
between the pages
of the book
i know
i will never
again
open.


Reil is a second year BSED-MATH student from Ateneo de Davao, and is ultimately in love with the Fibonacci Sequence.

Laundry

Poetry by | February 1, 2015

I wash your pants
to remove the dirt
of your last night’s infidelity.
Scrub it with patience
and force—
her caress abandoning the fabric.
Rinse it until it’s clean—
the sins dissolving in the water.
Dry it up—
the remains of her perfume evaporating.
Iron it,
to smooth the creases of the cloth,
hoping that tomorrow
I will not wash it
the way I always do:
cleaning someone else’s dirt.


Reil is a second year BSED-MATH student from Ateneo de Davao University. His best friends are Literature and Mathematics.

The Art in the Setting Sun

Fiction by | August 31, 2014

“Do you know I have had eighty-six books, apo?” he asked.

His muscles were weak enough to rock the rocking chair, or to extend and touch my hands to confirm I am there beside him. The sunset made his face shadowy, and his thin, grey hair orange. Too sad he couldn’t see the sun swallowed by the horizon when it was just in front of his house. I want to describe it for him, but I didn’t know how to.

“Do you know I have had eighty-six books, apo?” he asked again. I nodded, as though he could hear it. “Forty-nine days ago, it was eighty-six. Now, there’s just thirty seven left.” He paused to inhale. His breathing was so slow it alarmed me every time he did it. “When it reached eighty-six, I know I am dying. I’m so weak and, perhaps, pale. I decided to give them to everyone that passes by the house.”

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Paghinumdom

Poetry by | August 24, 2014

ihapa
ang bun-og nga nadawat mo
sa matag gabiing
muuli siya nga hubog

sukda
ang kalawom sa samad
sa panit mong
gihimo niyang tadtaran

banabanaa
ang mga adlaw
nga ikaw nahadlok
kay iyang kumo gahulat kanimo

sa imong pag-ihap
sa imong pagsukod
sa imong pagbanabana
ayaw kalimti
nga wala na’y laing nagpangga kaniya
nga kung mutunob ka paggawas
sa balay kun diin ka
gibun-og
gisamaran
gisumbag
wala na siya’y balikan pa

magdahom ka
nga ang imong gugma
ug sakripisyo–
dili gayod ma-ihap,
dili gayud masukod,
dili gayud mabanabana–
ang makabag-o kaniya
aron tawagon kang asawa.


Mr. Obinque is a second year BSED-MATH student of Ateneo de Davao University.

Twosome

Poetry by | August 10, 2014

The pen
danced
on his paper
carving
wounds
to etch
scars irremovable.
He defeated her once more.
The paper cried
with every
stroke
and point
but waited
till the pen
drained
every gram
of his blood.
She won at last.


Reil is a second year BSED-Math student from Ateneo de Davao University. He was a fellow of the Ateneo de Davao Summer Writers Workshop 2014.

Igpapanas

Poetry by | August 10, 2014

ang chalk nga gunit mo abog
apan dili niini masulat
ang mga oras nga ikaw nagmata
aron makaplagan ang mga natun-an
sa mga studyanteng
mas gipalabi mong tabangan
kaysa bana mong
nanginahanglan pud sa imong kamot
ang igpapanas nga gunit mo basa
apan dili niini mapapha
ang mga adlaw
nga ikaw nagyawyaw
aron pakan-on ug mga kalimuhagan
ang mga batang mas gipakaon mo pa
kaysa mga anak mong gusto pud magpahungit
ang libro nga gunit mo baga
apan dili niini mapilde
ang kabaga sa mga panit
ilalom sa mata mong
nahago sa pagbasa
aron makatudlo pag usab
sa mga mag-aalam
nga mas gimahal mo
kaysa sa sarili nimo nga
gagukod pud ug gugma
abog na ang chalk
basa na ang igpapanas
baga na ang libro
apan ikaw
padayon sa pagtudlo
padayon sa pagbilar
padayon sa pagkalimot
nga aduna pay puy lain
nga nagatawag sa ngalan mo


Reil is a second year BSED-MATH student from Ateneo de Davao University.

"Hapit Nata, Nay?"

Fiction by | June 15, 2014

Puno na kaayo ang jeep. Dili na makayag higot sa kundoktor ang bukag sa marang kay ang atop sa jeep gitabunan nag mga bukag sa mga prutas ug sako sa bug-at nga bugas ug mga panaliton. Itom ang aso nga gisuka sa tambutso pagkahuman ug paandar sa drayber. Sa sulod, ang mga namaypay nga mga pasahero nahimutang ra gayud kay makalarga na sila, makabalik na sila ug bukid.

Guot pud kaayo ang sulod. Ang dapat baynte nga manakay nahimung traynta. Ang uban nagsabak, ang uban nagkabit sa gawas, ang uban nanindog, labaw na ang mga batang walay mahimo kung dili musuksok aron makauli. Usa na si Ondong—ang sinko anyos nga batang itom pa sa kagabhion. Ang usa ka kamot ni Ondong nagkapyot sa tayaon nga bakal, ang isa, nakakapot sa kamot sa iyang inahan. Niginhawa si Ondong, pero ang iyang nasimhot kay ang baho nga singot sa mga kalawasan sa naglingkod palibut kaniya, ang mga baho sa isda, karne ug gulay nga dala-dala nila, ang baho sa syudad nga ila nang biyaan.

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