SAMPAGUITA AS ALIEN SPECIES
YVANNA VIEN TICA
Something Nanay never said: I know more about this country than mine: somewhere I never lied: a field hanging in the fulcrum of a river’s arm or the grove of willows crystallizing in the backyard. Someone shows me a bouquet of small, sweet white flowers that taste, I imagine, like the slight breaking and broken bones of a woman under the weight of a colonizer’s pallid body. Something Nanay never said: I don’t know the name of our national flower: sampaguita, dead little white flowers, tender as the baby’s head held cradled at the turn of a stagnant river. Somehow I taste all the white people’s flowers because I’ve borrowed their tongue for so long: honeysuckle, poppy, black-eyed susans, daisies, wreaths, & boughs hanging loose on a father’s head, pallid & begging, I imagine, for a taste of a blue violet lying on the fulcrum of my arm. Something Nanay never said: I don’t want to know what happens to the men there: the fields are all raped with bodies of fathers & bled into fire: sampaguitas adorning the hood of a scythe from this land because they never knew where to go: somewhere I never lied: underneath a host of stars planted like rice, under a hut in a secluded coconut grove: some name I never said or could say because of my overdue tongue, & still: the man crashes against the weight of a woman & breaks his neck over blue violets.
Listen to Yvanna read "Sampaguita as Alien Species" below:
YVANNA VIEN TICA (she/her) is a high school junior at Faith Academy in Manila, Philippines where she serves as the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Faith Review. An alumna of the Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program, she has been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition, Teen Sequins, and The Kenyon Review. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Interlochen Review, The Rising Phoenix Review, and The Eunoia Review, among others. As a third culture and missionary kid, she is an alien in more ways than one.