NaPoWriMo Day 20: Write a poem in the voice of a member of your family.

It is my 50th birthday today. On the dining table, a cake with a cheery “Happy birthday!” written in blue frosting and with three candles on top. I closed my eyes, made wish, and blew each one. My husband asks what I wished for. I gently placed hand on top of his, my dark complexion a stark contrast. I look at our two children, the same blood running through their veins and yet, they inherited my skin and my eyes. My mother’s words ring true: Our family blood is strong.

I fussed with my hair, making sure each strand was in place and placed the hat on my head. It’s my second year away from home, travelling to distant places but never staying. Just long enough to breathe in a different air. I plaster on a smile and greet each passenger with the same practiced speech: “Good morning, thank you for choosing our airline. We hope you enjoy your flight with us today.”

Nobody calls me by my old name anymore, not here anyway. That was a different life, a different story. A life spent in a country thousands of miles away from here. There, the temperature could rise to a dizzying degree. Here, I can see my breath every time I exhale. On December mornings, I can only see white. I have long forgotten the dust-covered streets of Manila.

She’s turning 70 in a few days so… my niece’s letter said. I have not seen her since she was a little girl, with a bob of curls and bright eyes. She reminds me so much of myself when I was younger. When I was yet to be comfortable with my lanky limbs. When I could barely run my fingers through my hair before they would get snared by the curls. I could feel the past catching up to me: I have not returned home in seventeen years. I look at this little girl—no, already a young lady—and I wonder what her dreams are. I wonder if my mother has already given her a few pieces of jewelry she used to promise me. I look at her and I can’t help but see her unmistakable resemblance with her grandmother.

 Suddenly, I remember: Our family blood is strong.


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