How to Make a Sandwich

I was told this was

the way to a man’s heart:

 

  1. Put on an apron and tie up your hair.
  2. Lock yourself in the kitchen for hours on end.

 

  1. Take out a loaf of bread, and slice it in two.
  2. Spread the butter inside, nice and even on all sides.
  3. Put the lettuce, the tomatoes, one on top of another.
  4. Add their choice of meat; ham, bacon, or chicken.
  5. And then slide everything into the toaster oven.

 

  1. Serve them the sandwich while it’s nice and hot.
  2. Keep quiet as they go on about their day.
  3. Clean up when they’re done.

 

It is their world, after all.

You are but a woman.

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The Hawk’s Lullaby

And still the hawk believed

he was not alone

in the treeless jungle

he built his nest on

for there were beasts

of the most unnatural forms

speeding and honking

and flying and falling

all around him.

 

They cried as he did

a cry unlike his,

booming and loud

and deafening.

 

They cried all day

and all night,

all the same pleas.

I am alone.

I am alone.

I am alone.

 

I am not,

the hawk thought

as he towered above them,

miniscule in size.

Not of the same feathers,

but of the same fears,

he slept in the comfort

of all of their tears

Manila

Mornings begin with the sound of your voice

tugging at ears a blend of screeching tires

and inaudible words set at the highest volume.

Your smile calls to wake up each and every day

at six thirty in the morning sharp, seven at most.

A method you have perfected over the years

caters to the needs of all your children;

the right amount of light to blind eyes awake,

an excess of heat to force off the bed.

You push out of the door, into the street,

into a multicolored rainforest with waters

infested with crocodiles and snakes

whose day jobs prescribe hours in the office,

and a lush filled with brothers and sisters

of the same color, the same blood, different directions.

A mother that forces her child out into the jungle,

without food or money to last the day,

with nothing but the endurance he has cultivated

over his years under her wing.

Guided by the rush of the life you have set

but confused by the congestion and stagnancy

of those who live it, he is left to stand

in the middle of a footbridge, above

a sea of cars that have ceased to go on,

amidst a current of people that move

from here to there, with his hand

stretched out towards them.

Anna Karenina

An approaching horn’s noise

deafens all who have ears.

The platform is shaking

with each feeble pebble

dancing on iron rails.

 

A woman on the edge,

decked head-to-toe in black;

a lavish purse, dangling,

its hue reminiscent

of her quivering lips.

 

Heels clacking, fidgeting

on the wooden floor,

 

mumbling;

What am I doing? Why?

 

A moment, a stillness;

seconds compressed in time.

 

A cloud of smoke rolls in.

fog as the train arrives.

God, forgive me ev’rything!

The black mist fades away,

dissipating slowly.

 

People shift in, shift out.

A red bag lies on the

edge of the platform, stepped

on by foot after foot.

The commotion ensues.

Victoria

I stood on the southern shore of Tsim Sha Tsui

the night before I left, to tell you goodbye.

Before dusk underneath the clock tower, as promised,

amidst faces all the same, waiting. Slowly,

you lit up the sky, as the dark settled in.

Your rough, gray skin glowed, replacing the stars.

Beneath you the harbor comes alive, along with the current,

and the boats, and the ferry who resembles a vision of you

from years long ago. I have shared you for too long

with millions just like me. The same dance every night

for both hellos and goodbyes – a ballet of lights,

blue, yellow, gray, and white, I mistook for you and I.

Goodbye, I whispered into thin air, listen.

A new love has swept me to a place far away.

Silence. Your breath crashed with the waves,

tapping on the pier, fragrant as the sea.

The light sprinkle of water are your fingers

brushing against my skin. A murmur into my ear,

so faint a voice. Too late to look back

on what once was. Goodbye, my lover,

I must let you go, back to your stage

above the water where you belong.

Rico Yan

A fan letter —

 
You must know that
I have fashioned every boy
I have fallen in love
with the depth of your dimples
and the sparkle of your smile.

At a tender age of seven years old,
I fell in love with a man who
I saw unfold in front of me
on the screen, through a series
of pictures and sounds.

I fell in love with a man who
smiled more than he should have.
We who adored you from afar
knew not of your world,
and so ours crashed

When the radio blasted the news
of your death on an island far away
from here. You left a mark
unscathed many years since then.