Sad Girl’s Love Song

Poetry by | April 19, 2021

She will not ask
you to stay.
Instead, she will ask you
to listen to her chants—
a hymn
of all the things
she will remember you by
when you decide to leave her.

She will start
with how the crescent moon
reminds her of your thin smile.
Then, of the warm glow
of the streetlamps at dusk
when you walk her home
to Obrero.

She will tell you
how the small scar
right below your nose
reminds her of lightning.

She will smile
fondly to herself
when you kiss her.
Your soft kisses
remind her that you could
love the beauty frightening things.

This way, she will not
grow fearful of the storm
that is her. This will make her march
to the thunder of her heart.

And when you finally decide
to leave her,
she will not remind you
how you made her feel safe
when you held her in your arms
as she clawed at her sheets
for warmth.

Instead, she will whisper
so close to your ear
until you hear a ghost of a cry,
that she built a fortress
on your arms
that she still calls


Zakiyyah Sinarimbo is a coffee enthusiast by day, a law student by night. She is a mother to five cats.




Of Remembering

Nonfiction by | November 8, 2015

The only sound that resonated in one of the crowded rooms inside the lonely mansion at Lugay-Lugay Street was her loud, ragged, and pained breathing. It was 9:45 in the evening, the night after Christmas in 2007. Families, relatives, and friends, rushed from different distant cities and countries to Cotabato City to be with her in her final moments. The golden silk curtains were drawn, the air-conditioning unit was turned off, all the lights were switched on—brightly illuminating every inch of every face, and of everything—in the house, and the white narra door that was always locked was now left wide open for the people to enter and see her in such a heart-breaking state.

She was lying on a hospital bed bought by her eleven children, six sons and five daughters. IV needles were injected on her bruised right hand. She was wearing an oxygen mask that did nothing but to amplify her agonized gasping for air. Her black, thinning hair was tied into a messy knot. Here caramel skin was too big and too loose for her now thin body. As I sat silently in a corner, my back against the whiteness of the walls, she looked very small and shriveled as a leaf that had fallen from the mango tree her firstborn son had planted in her garden.

The hushed sobbing of the crowd. The soft rustling of clothes being smoothed down and brushed. The anxious patting of the bare and naked feet, as the people in the room shifted their weight—left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot. The holding of breaths. The passing of time. Her breathing slowly fading away. Silence. Her youngest daughter’s horrified wail followed by her youngest son’s urgent warning, “Stop it, stop it. Do not cry.” Her husband’s nervous laugh as he tried to crawl out of the room. These were the sounds that pulsed in the room as my heart thumped heavily in my chest.

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