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Reinarethna Selvaraju


If you are Sintunado
are you actually Filipino?

Halika dito anak– 
           Sit up straight–
                        Your strumming is not nice– 
                                    Ask your sister to join you na– 


–Hair tucked back behind my ears,
my mother tells me the family misses my voice.

Cracked, broken and snipped between lines, 
she tells me I don’t have to speak;
but sing properly.

Not knowing the faces on the other screen, 
imagining furrowed eyebrows
clouding my lolo’s smile, 

I clip melodies from my shoebox home and 
send it over in a net to fill the gaps 
between bahay kubo floor panels 
and separating bodies of water. 

Try it again anak; one more time– 
            Don’t forget to smile this time. 

Get Luckier Floorboards.jpg
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