Snail Trail Press

Pamela K. Santos

Consider the Petal

the lily is a moment the petal is a fraction refractured inference the petal of the lily is a moment halved and halved again consider the petal colors fall upwards the lily is a moment the petal is a stopover consider the moment halved and halved again consider the stop over consider the colors halved falling into the moment consider the lily falling into the fraction the refraction of the moment consider the wind that moves the petal of the lily that is falling upwards consider the wind is the moment unhalved opened and un fractured consider the wind is the moments all the moments falling upwards consider the wind is the journey falling sideways and south and center and under the petal of the lily of the moment of the many moments of your life and you will lily you will petal you will bloom you will most surely wilt and in your wilting all the color will moment and vortex and become the wind Bold,


Lola said, in her last breaths Cling to joy, iha, like it’s the first hand you’ve ever known by touch memory that was not your own like the garlic skin giving way to the pestle in the mortar There is something carried over a knowing, even when nothing hangs over all that you occupy. Lola, in her last willful breaths, wished for me to love, iha, like the bluebells tumble and fall underfoot, because carelessness is inevitable when you are rooted to what you know, supping on the sun shivering in the wind, unknowing— Iha, be gentle even when uncertainty feels certain.

The Enduring Power of Titas You’re Not Related To

Tita She doesn’t tell me what to call her Gloria, she said That’s her name that’s not what I should call her I call her Tita The young kids the Fil-Ams They call elders Auntie and Uncle Amerikano kasi1 (Not the coffee) Amerikano yung kapitbahay sa kabila2 yung nasa barberr shap3 lagi gusto niya ng San Miguel4 Sabi daw mas masarap5 kasi6 Amerikano sa Navy7 (He remembers San Migs from that tour)8 Sana9 Tita Gloria, I call her Tita, sana you kept this place10 (air moving as if there were already a cigarette waiting for a long pull)
Oo, nga11 Expensib Mahal, anak12 Tumaas ang rent13 I used to hab dat haws (points lips) diyan lang14 (across the street) I could open dee store, close at alam mo, iha15 E-Z Ngayon, nakatira ako sa isang apartmen16 Doon lang, eh pero one block17 (opens her pack, lights cigarette) Don’t be like me, ah Smokingk will gib yoo wrinkles (exhales) Thirty-seben years ako dito18 sa yung haws na yun19 (inhales) Don’t be like me, anak20
Change the Color of hr Tag using CSS

1 (because they're American, you see)
2 the neighbor next door, he's American
3 the one in the barber shop
4 he always likes San Miguel beer
5 he says it tastes better
6 because
7 he was the kind of American white man who would know these things because the U.S. Navy was a good enough reason to be in the Philippines and try on beers like experiences like interesting wardrobe choices if conversations were like closets
8 remembering is taking winter comforters down from the attic except there are more holes than threads and the cool beads of condensation skiiing down the san mig label are the last threads to go
9 too bad/ I feel a universe of regret mixed with wishful thinking that can’t come true/ A feeling that sounds like an ellipsis inside two syllables/ in other words/ IF ONLY IF ONLY IF ONLY IT COULD BE
10 Mabuhay Grocery, as if names are only precursors to life’s irony, which is to say ‘Long Live Grocery’ only lived long enough to pass to a very nice man named Prakash who had at one time left both of us alone in Gloria’s former sari-sari store to run after a lady who forgot to sign her card receipt. Nobody knows when it finally closed. a bike repair shop sits there now.
11 yeah with an ellipsis that is as familiar as the knowledge that summer back home is wet and Christmas decorating starts in October and boxes of rubber shoes and chocolates can’t be found in any bookkeeper’s columns but sometimes the years have no currency exchange rate
12 expensive, kid/ even though the same word for love hangs heavier than metal in my mouth but that is what it means to have two tongues and two meanings minimum for every word. We Pilipinos always mean more than we say with things of value and you children always need to be told twice
13 the rent went up and there is so much more to me than this conversation but I don’t make friends with regret as you kids do in this country, and you can already hear the shrug in my tone so you understand enough of life
14 just over there and distance doesn’t mean the same when ghosts and time are involved
15 and you know, sweetie, daughter of this very moment and no other time again
16 now, I live in this one apartment
17 over there, just one block over though
18 I’ve been here 37 years and you can hold many more HEREs in the DITO that we both know too well
19 in that home I remember like a comforter bigger than anywhere is now
20 don’t be like me, child

Mabuhay is supposed to have life at its center

"The Enduring Power of Titas You're Not Related To" previously appeared in Issue 13 of Newtown Literary (December 2018, print).

Pamela K. Santos is a Pinayorker writer and artist-scholar working with multilingual materials and archival embodiment. Pamela has received support from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, Oregon Literary Fellowship, Imagining America, Advancing Gender Equity in the Arts, Caldera Arts, Mineral School, and Regional Arts & Culture Council, among others. Her poetry and prose appear in Cultural Weekly, Anomaly, Stoked Words, Tayo Magazine, and elsewhere. She is working on her debut collection Secret Lumpia.