For Lolo, who taught me how to be a father
After José Rizal

“Farewell,” I imagine you said to your adored daughter.
Though you had others I look at mine,
With her mother’s nose but my mother’s eyes,
And I can only imagine the way your
Heart must have fractured and the words stuck

On the part of the tongue that goes wide

And swells when you carry grief;

When you’re grieving.

And, Lo, I feel that heaviness now.

I’ll feel it forever, I think.

I pace the catacombs of my mind

Wishing I’d kept the memories filed

In an orderly fashion. Like you’d have.

Instead they’re tucked and hidden and

What I’d give to be able to walk across the ocean

Across time and right back into your arms.

To have you call me, Jay…
To eat the rice cake you bought me, together.

To ask how to do all of this cause

All of this seems to be just too much.

My daughter, your apo, is growing

Too fast and soon enough I’ll have
To learn to let her go

To love her like you loved my mother

To learn to say


And know that love sometimes means having to say good bye.

Me and Lolo. 2001. Photo credit: Lolo’s archives.

Me and Lolo. 2001. Photo credit: Lolo’s archives.