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i see and remember the sampaguita -- poetry by Christyn Refuerzo

my finger points to the description on the page.

the island sun painting the skin an amber, gold-spun silk.

flat nose.

dark eyes with depths.

hair a jet-black silk—copper-plated under the summer sun.

thick and stick-straight, but mimic the oceanic motion of the Pacific.

—it’s me—

the author - she mentions adobo and lumpia and mahal kita.

for a mere moment, i feel seen.

i finally understand how it feels like to be the main character. to see myself on the page.

and with the hurt toward my people - the fear to go outside, so we may be attacked— to see myself on the page means what i feel and want is valid.

the white that’s on my mind is not of western beauty, not like it always is - it’s the sampaguita flower, jasmine. roots in the east—stark white, fragrant, rising sun.

i see and remember the sampaguita, feel the sun on my skin, brush my silky hair. the island calls to me—make me seen.

i see and remember the sampaguita - the flower of my mother.


Christyn Refuerzo is a senior by day and writer by night. As a senior, she is currently buried in the words of personal statements and supplemental essays. Her publications include Wind-up Mice Journal: Sunday Nibbles and Matchbox Zine. You can find her drinking coffee, writing, reading, or listening to Lizzy McAlpine's Give Me a Minute over and over again.

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