philippine islands

the h sits

just after the p

whose roundness disguises the violence in my body.

the sound of f

- an earth piercing sword -


on the back of my lip

forces its way to be the first sound you hear

implies importance in identifying this body.

we were named after a man

who believed he was entitled to us

though we existed long before

west bound itself to these islands.


of islands, peoples, voices,

navigated by stars

roots swimming through untamed oceans.

what makes others think they are more

than the blood that pumps through our veins?

sacrificed in confrontations

the blood that nourishes

and births new life with ancient wounds?


the sound comes

from our “saviors” who taught us

signing a cross is holier than thou using

the same fingers to carry food into our mouths…

when what could be more holy

than feeding ourselves?

nourishment made from the hands of elders

who are judged on the way they trip

unable to pronounce what does not exist

in our mothers’ tongues.

our blood is mixed

with those who brought “f” to our shores

a spectrum of complexions

sunkissed earthiness


our colonizers did not realize we

-generations born on stolen

first world lands-

would remember.


holding this knowledge in our bodies

we hear the edges of our teeth

feel pressure against our skin

and learn how to use this sharpness against them.



© 2020 nicole gervacio

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