Dalaga

Sophie dela Cruz

San Antonio, TX

Health Careers High School

Poetry

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;


Japanese Cherry-bomb

Blossom soap; donated

Hair tied taut with a

Mango-patterned scrunchie.


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


Scarlet-hued envelopes

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.

But I


Am not

Yet old

Enough to

Bless you.

EDITORIAL PRAISE

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