daughter to daughter

Trini Rogando

(for my family)

hong kong

[ she is seventeen when she leaves her estate, her young soul still
unsung. her mother packed her a box brimming with dreams &
blessings & clothes for a new life across the waves; she clings to it &
the comfort of home, breathless with fear. strange tongues have
reduced her garbles to uselessness, understanding found only in a
betrothed man’s lips pressing rough on hers. this isaland that wants
to chew her up & expel her out. she longs to attend college, to trace
a composer’s hand over walls buzzing with life. but she must marry,
so she waits—then she is pregnant, so she waits longer. i am young,
she tells herself, i have more time. she waits & waits & the months
trickle diminuendos down her thighs with each new swell of her
stomach. as it clouds dawn skies, time smiles, fluent in mockery. ]

(she does not know she will never graduate. that she will only ever
listen, dependent on the symphony surrounding her. voice stitched
shut, prayers unheard, sealed hopes fading into silence)


[ you are thirty-eight when your sister hands you a box. you have
not spoken to your mother since college but somehow she has
managed to deign every last trace of you into four cardboard walls
& a broken home. report cards, gold seals, their percussive musk of
pride long clattered away. picture frames that glisten with
imprisoned dreams. everywhere else, breathing through the
score—loud silence rounding into age-old rebukes. my life ended
the day i had children.
a fresher statement, a familiar tune. our life
together ends here.
all of these scattered melodies just to spit
goodbye. you wonder ifall things must begin & end material & you
tell me later you have not had a mother for decades. regret tastes like
dissonance slicking down the sanctitude of your throat & you tell
me later you wish you had more time. with her brims clearly & with
hangs hidden & true. ]

(you know manila, in its puf ed-up pride,
is too polluted to wish on the stars. but you
still wish your home craved for you back.
you hide the box away)


[ i am sixteen & i still have my mother. perhaps one day i will also
slip cardboard between my fingertips & clutch to a box likea womb
& seek warmth from your foreign body once removed. but know,
then, i will not be breathless or afraid—hot prayers stealaway from
this young oracle tongue. i know already what dust will line the
box’s edges & what grooves will whisper at my thumbs. together
now we can fill the expanse, revel in a half-written sonata of shared
souls: for you i sing love in words & time & time & time & time &

Trini Rogando is a junior at TJHSST in Alexandria, Virginia. Her work has been published in Kalopsia Literary Journal, Second Chance Lit, and the Trouvaille Review, among others. She wants to remind everyone to not take life too seriously; no one ever gets out alive.