Sophie dela Cruz
San Antonio, TX
Health Careers High School
Tita, I’ll translate the signs for you.
The price of infinity is
Nine-twenty-six (with a
Gas-station tenth of a cent)
At certain retailers, and depending
On where you go, it comes
a few things: a stick of
Likas Papaya, fair and lovely;
A coat-hanger with velveteen
Grips from the old
T.V. sales that you
Said manong likes;
A CD-ROM of Neon Genesis Evangelion
(subbed) with the theme song still
Intact; a blue business card
For your brethren back on the mainland.
A bundle deal, —
It comes with a
Few things: Pseudo-American Cash
And thrice-said prayers for pag-ibig;
Blossom soap; donated
Hair tied taut with a
It comes with a few more
Things: lovely creatures
That keep their faces clean, with guma-
Mela tucked behind their ears;
A first-edition life kept inside a coat, fluctuating
Between scowling and smiling, depending
on location (or rather, story); the permission to
Destroy the Western world as a whole.
Tita, will I live so long?
In the sea, the girls seem pink —
So rawly made and soft,
All clear foreheads and minimal adipose —
Straightened like fingers,
Bound like tiny feet,
Fingers gripped and crossed
Like letters and wishes in
On New Year. And then — when you tell
Me about yung babae, I imagine them
all carried, vast and far,
Buried in some old,
Ugly cradle, woven carefully from silk
And scraped-blue moonlight.
They are not like me.
I am far away.
Tita, I have
everything I need.
Oh, this one’s a keeper. Dalaga demands you to sit with these words, to come back to them again and again. Until you’re old enough to bless them.
Sophie Ligaya dela Cruz is a bright-eyed seventeen-year-old attending Health Careers High School, which is located in the smoldering city of San Antonio, Texas. She will be graduating in 2021. In the meantime, Sophie will be pinching crab rangoons, twirling pens through her fingers, and watching the stars pass by.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR