By: Keana Aguila Labra

I am the straight bark
of the untouched Cebuano palm,
where the lechon is the best
and words fly freely and gahi.

My bones kneaded from
the pearls of my mother’s tears,
marking her path from Tondo to Quezon City
to Playa del Rey.

My lips lined with the
kiss between spring and summer,
green and gold, with a laugh
to rival the Pacific.

At night, my hands in prayer
are the grace from the santonilyo
and I ask that my lolo find peace
in the beyond.

And with knees wide enough
to carry the Muntinlupa eastward slope
into the sunrise, I


Keana Aguila Labra is a Cebuana Tagalog Filipinx poet in diaspora. As the founder and editor-in-chief of the magazine, Marías at Sampaguitas, she hopes to champion underserved and underrepresented communities with this literary space. She is a part of the Kearny Street Interdisciplinary Writer’s Lab 2021 summer cohort and the young adult Honorary Santa Clara County Poet Laureate of Oct. 2021. She is the author of three collections, Natalie, No Saints, and Mohilak.

Keana can be found on Twitter or Instagram @Tambokekai.

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