Trish Shishikura has been pursuing her Communication Arts degree in Miriam College.
She was awarded the Ophelia Dimalanta Award, dubbed Thomasian Poet of the Year
in the 27th Gawad Ustetika, a yearly literary competition hosted by the University of
Santo Tomas. Her poetry has appeared in the Philippines Free Press and Philippine
Graphic Magazine


To have realized that birds can only hold so much,
give up and fall back to their nests. To call on gravity,
to pull on tea leaves on bottoms of cups. To shatter
the centerpiece. To reach for the sky. To want things
tangible. To keep catalogues. To remind. To think: isn't
this the point? To sing songs, hum from memory. To read
a hundred poems about loss. To close the eyes during
a plane crash. To think, feel small. To follow sequence,
write of damage. To count the ways fire burned
our house down south. To blame it on Christmas lights.
To understand force majeure. To plan this all along. To
never understand home. To escape. To watch all
things crumble: smaller and smaller. To write down
that things begin in addition to. To end with ashes.


Root word: apply. As though topical.
Adults let the child break course,
keep gauze and a metronome by
the bedside table to distract dreams.
Adults fear scarring, assume worse
things. Gaps explain no fault in that.
His shoes break; he blames footsteps,
says they keep chasing shadows.
Wiser men advise us to dismiss breeze,
watch trees grow lonely over time.
Some children wonder of reptiles seated
on chairs with coiling backrests that follow no symmetry, dis-
cussing theory, philosophy. Do they matter.
In every utter, a lotus. I want to tell him, look,
rainfall, grace pressing downward.
Let me explain: Scars are never stitched
the way mothers stitch flowers
on handkerchiefs. It's not like that.


Being tells me to begin despite syncope.
I propose symmetry, that recurring prob
lem, that tendency to cage poems as tho
ugh a heart escaping the pulse. My neigh
bor keeps listing down things-to-do. "So to
morrow avoids reiteration." Burning grass
on an empty lot down the street. Aversion
for green, a beginning of brown when fields
burn but always ashen is left as grandfather
's eyes and hair and teeth. I listen to his sigh
s, hear assonance. Flatline. Asystole. Vowels
distinct, constant. A sign outside says, Sale:
Toys. Easy lost. But no anagram will displace
loss, and beat cannot be regained after the
break. I wish I could tell him to come home,
tell him how the roosters have memorized
transition, that I've yet to recover from it.


"The philosopher in you says:
The world is a beautiful idea."
—Charles Simic

The doctor called about apostrophes last night.
Something about the displacement of eyes, or
my dog's paw-print embedded on the seat.
But I am still so in love with you, writes graffiti.
So, there stands a wall named Constance.
Strangers adorn her with pictures of lost and
found and searching. Naoki waits outside the door,
coffee mug shattered before him. He forgot to
clear the dishes by sunrise, too much yeast
on the dough. Rising motion, as though chasing
after breath. See, my heart turns, just like that.
Memory sleeps in hotel rooms, sets an alarm
for 5 am. I left bookmarks everywhere while
giving names for every movement. She was sob-
bing, her body a shudder I named Stillness.
Lasted for hours, rainwater beneath her feet.
Down that road, I once found an old man
who resembled my father as he turned away.
(Look! My childhood! On the map of his back!)

for Naoki

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