Blood cousin. Out of faith.

They found your rosewood hope crucified;

Culasi rice paddy, bolo for a crown of thorns.


Once knee deep in the Sulu Sea—poems

placed: bamboo boats. Mine


took on water. You swam to

save it. You cut your hand on a broken

bottle. It stung with life.


Your face reflects in every bowl

of rice. I'm as jasmine as the grain.


You wanted to be a boxer. Your

shadow (taking) bodyblow after bodyblow.


My aunt never understood. Tomboys

harden their hands before their hearts.

I still pray with a drizzle of soy sauce


in my palm. Cruciform.

I wear your rosary.