“Last Day Home, ELL 3” by  Sarah Estime

“Last Day Home, ELL 3” by Sarah Estime


TWo Poems

by Kharla Brillo


here are scars since 1993, no bullet holes,
no casualties because we didn’t fight in any war but
we held our parents’ sadness
like a wounded soldier carrying a dead body
of someone’s father who was meant to go home. we slipped,
we scraped our knees on bamboo shoots and hidden rocks
in a backyard of carabao grasses—this is nothing.
sweat dripping from our foreheads, our toothache
lasting for days, this is nothing. just pray a thousand
litanies and mom will stop crying as she washes
the dishes. dad will not slam the door anymore. both their anger
will float above our ceilings, no gravity, get your science textbooks
and keep reading. keep reading, no one’s angry anymore.
but we wished space was real enough to touch,
and our grandparents
would talk about the *curfews and what fear really meant
when soldiers place your head underwater instead of—
instead of—not rape you
instead of—not kill you
blood lines across our best friend’s
thighs and wrist. here are wars we know.
stomach in, silk hair, a smile that can move
any storm a hundred miles south, I don’t look like that.
why don’t I look like that? let us welcome a generation
of girls who measure beautiful the same way
they measure doubt. they are not sure.
here are wars we know. some days,
we don’t know why we are sad.
some days, we pretend we do.
our men bury things inside them until they are maggot rotten.
we become objects and they become victims of their own
history. it’s not your fault.
     it’s not your fault.
       it’s not your fault.
here are scars since 1993, no bullet holes,
no casualties because we didn’t fight in any World War.
we fought within and without ourselves,
we fought to be kind. we fought to understand.
we fought to be gentle. these are the wars we know.

* September 1972: President Ferdinand E. Marcos followed up his declaration of martial law in the Philippines by announcing the mass arrest of what he said were Communist conspirators plotting to over throw the Government. In a nationwide radio and television address Mr. Marcos imposed a curfew from mi night to 4 A.M. daily and announced controls on newspapers, radio stations and foreign correspondents. He banned travel of Filipinos abroad except those on official missions and barred rallies and demonstrations. NY Times Archives


My papa is crying with his back to me
and he says, don’t look, he says don’t look
       but I still feel. I mean if it hurt, I’d know
       without seeing. If it hurt, what are eyes for?
Para saan? The deep brown that is more than mud,
       the mud that is mirror
       more than a lake is
when I look down I see moss growing tears
and its harvest season.  And pain is pain
        even when you hide it.
        wrap it in metal, or skin, some paper.
Wrap it with the blackness of a cave that is your eyes
and the light passes through, still.
       This is how I realized, ang isang luha ay dagat,
       a teardrop is an ocean not the other way around.
It has sky, it has shore, it has you in it. And so why
don’t you let me cry, my love, hayaan mo ako, my papa says.
          And I turn around, and this time I don’t stop
          running towards the shoreline.
My feet leaving prints, my lungs turning helium. My body
becoming the storm that everyone else is running away from.

“Last Day Home, ELL 2” by  Sarah Estime

“Last Day Home, ELL 2” by Sarah Estime


Kharla Brillo is a contributing author to anthologies entitled Coming of Age under Summit Books and My Lot Is a Sky under Math Paper Press. Her poetry covers topics of mental health, self-healing, feminism, and abuse, among others.