By Andrea D. Lim

for H


Our arms that shared the chilling language
of letting out before letting go lock our present selves
to the presses of each other’s heads onto our chests
minutes after midnight in front of a studio room mirror, under
the dim yellow light. This is a forgiving Sunday hour
for faint shadows shaping the human only late encounters
can trace away.


I am the first to dare gaze at the ground where
the edge of our conflicting want, the feet attest, has the feel of crossroads.
The surface finally suffice. My eyes shift direction to our reflections,
the disheveled bed hair, skin-deep reaches and plunges, two bodies taking a place
through giving in to its chance for the temporal haul
of an endless whole.


You are on the receiving end, looking above
my head. You take the time to discover more inches,
to be the one to see for ourselves that you are now
higher than me. I used to be taller than you
when we were closer to our inner child
and had the time for open-ended narratives.
Now you are proud of your ruling, grinning
thoughtfully for history’s sake, for what comes
more during comebacks.

I tilt my head to your side, just enough to arrive
with a slanted face. In for all, I was shaking—it must have been
the coldness of inner pitch-black space, the weak refusal
from being filled this way, or the emptiness
that must be contained.


So you just take place, you holding on to your ways
of freeing me from the fixation with crashing at checkout time.

The bags are packed before you came, still. I may not yet be
tucked on the window side of the bus but my growth,
rooted between knowing better and minding the current, dawns
on the crevices of my heart. It does not shy away
at the height of honest desire.


And so you win, still. The heart tends to an aged love, but you,
you have outgrown me.




Patawad, Ama

Ni Norsalim S. Haron

Patawad po dahil sa lahat ng robot
na nilikha ninyo ako lang
              ang walang
Isang kabiguan
Sa inyong imbensiyon.

Paumanhin po kung ayaw kong lunukin
Ang pagkaing isinubo ni’yo sa akin
Hindi dahil hindi masarap kundi ayaw
Ko lang sa lasa.

Pasensiya na po kung sa lahat ng tupa
Ako ang laging huli sa uwian,
Sa lahat ng kambing ako
Ang nag-iisang
Hindi takot sa ulan.

Ode to the World’s Oldest Lullaby

By Marc Jeff Lañada

What do I make of all the blue waves that inhabit my memory,
   Waves ridging, crashing, then cut briefly by my dorsal eyes?
    Without human touch, a perpetual instrument was made,
     Wanders across latitudes and beyond the territories of sight:
    World, as it first was, again, rediscovered. Forget the sparrow
   Whistling at dawn, the choir of honking cars, the morning radio;
 Where sand meets the infinite foam lives a melody, weaved of
Words my tongue cannot choreograph. The performance begins,
Whether dawn or dusk is pooling in the ocean, and stays there.
  What do I make of all the blue waves that inhabit my memory,
    Waves ridging, crashing, then cut briefly by my dorsal eyes?

Cautionary Tale

By Jermaine Dela Cruz

She was
or so they thought.
Woods fired, engines chugged,
they sailed her West in fair majestic pride
unknowing of a tragic ending, a harrowing recollections.
In a blink of an eye, she collided with a tip of the ice, a thousand lives and more swallowed by angry tides,
cries of mercy resonating, woes fading into the familiar shuttered countenance one by one.
Debris floating back and forth, a horrifying spectacle of bodies buoyant, breathless,
as salty waters sing a lullaby consoling souls from a sudden departure.
The ship of dreams, the unsinkable, in all her vainglory
a grand exit on her first and final journey, but not
before a farewell kiss pressed on her lips—
She, in a trance, breath withdrawn,
her limbs weak and weary.
Slowly she plunged
but not before
looking back
one last


Ni Alvin Pomperada

Mahirap maghugas ng pinggan. Sa pagkuskos ng espongha paikot sa plato’y nakakatha ng orasyong napapasailalim sa gunita ng isang salusalo ng pamilya: nalito ang ilong sa kakalanghap sa sarap ng putahe. Hindi pa dumampi sa dila ang pagkain, nabusog na ang mga tenga sa nakahaing kuwentuhan. Natakam ang lahat nang sinimulang halukayin ng ate ang asin sa kape. Sinamantala nila ang aking pagkabalat-sibuyas. Nakisawsaw muna ako sa toyo ng utak ni kuya bago kagatin ang malutong na biro ni mama. Naging lantang gulay ako sa panggigisa ng tatay kung ilan na ba ang natikmang talaba. Sagot ko, “Wala kapag ang dagat ay mapula.”

Hindi pa nakakalayo sa bunganga ng kaldero ang ulam, umusling parang kawali na ang mga tiyan namin. Kay dami pang nilulutong kuwento ngunit ayaw paawat sa pagkagat ng sandali ang orasan.

Binanlawan ko na ng mga luha ang mamantika kong damdamin. Kay tagal ko sa lababo. Isang plato lang naman ang hinugasan ko.

Kay hirap ngang maghugas ng pinggan.

Mababasa Rin ang Lupang Tuyo

Ni Luis B. Bahay Jr.

Mababasa rin ang lupa
Ng pawis
Na tumatagaktak
Mula sa balat na nakabilad
Sa araw, sa kamay na makalyo,
Sa dumi ng mga kuko, sa mga paang pasmado.
Tuloy ang pagtatrabaho.

Mababasa rin ang lupa
Ng mga luhang
Mula sa mga matang malabo
Ang paningin, sa sikmurang walang
Makain, sa ulam na palaging asin.
Tuloy ang pagtatanim.

Mababasa rin ang lupa
Ng marahas na ulan mula sa umuulang
Mga balang dadanak ng dugo,
Mga balang sa bibig isinubo.

Mababasa rin ang lupa
Hindi ng pawis, hindi
Ng luha, hindi ng ulan.
Dugo ang siyang didilig sa
Lupang tuyo.