T. De Los Reyes

Someday I Want to Have the Courage of Old People Who Ask Strangers Countless Questions

Their mouths form into an O / and I know they are about to birth /
a universe of questions / I stand in line waiting for my turn / and it
feels like I have been in line / all my life / all my hours spent /
listening to other people find their way / out of the dark / and into
their astonishment / here where they are holding / Turkish bread
fresh from the oven / where they learned about the taste / without
tasting / where they understood for the first time / that dates are
both time and fruit / I am saying my knees / are not as forgiving /
but I stand where I am / because I am meant to witness / how
wonder makes its way into the world / and I suppose it’s not the
questions / but the unabashed gesture / of asking what something
is called / of calling forth a name for a thing / of no longer being
afraid / to look the fool / listen I can’t go back / to being eight and
peeling / the skin off my lips / unaware blood comes / after blood
/ I can’t unknow / what I know / and pretend I won’t get hurt
again / but I can count the change slowly / while asking and what
about this one / and this one / and can you tell me / again, my dear
/ how to get home from here / yes / I am saying / when all that is
left is this body / I can still lean into wonder / I can forgive myself


T. De Los Reyes is a Filipino poet and author of the chapbooks, And Yet Held (Bull City Press) and Woeman (Hawai’i Review). Her poems have previously appeared or are forthcoming in RHINO, Narrative, Hunger Mountain, Birdcoat Quarterly, Pleiades, among others. She is the designer of Nowruz Journal and a poetry reader for Split Lip Magazine. She lives and writes in Manila, Philippines. Find more at tdelosreyes.com.