To Be Walang Hiya

Bubblegum lip gloss kissed,                Our lifelines, our mirrors,

I was never a singkil princess            These are Luminous Mysteries — 

Knuckle cracking, polished toes,        Our notebooks, our language,

I was never a Santacruzan queen      To witness, to make way,

Black eyeliner, push up bra                  Our thirst and our wedding bands —

I was never a curtsying debutante    To fill stone jars with water, to wed,

Loud, gum-smacking babygirl             Our glamour and our armor.

I was never a tiaraed Miss Fil Am     To transfigure, dazzling as the sun.

More Poems by Barbara Jane Reyes