1896

Source: Wikipedia

In honor of the 5th centennial anniversary of the Spanish rule in the Philippines, the whole month of April will showcase poems set in the Spanish colonial rule of the Philippines.

The story is loosely based on history and may contain inaccuracies.

I open my eyes
I see a net
I am in a bed
I sit up
A sheet of white
Underneath me
I am in a real bed
But not mine.

The net, I recognize
A mosquito net.
I rise from my bed,
Sweep away the net,
Wooden floor,
Wooden walls,
Woven rattan,
Bamboo windows
I lift open the windows
Outside is dark and quiet
And the roads are quiet
Empty, and old
It should be full of traffic
And cars—there are no cars.

Senorita! 
A woman enters the room
And gushes over my state.
We must prepare for this evening’s celebration
What celebration?
Your brother is coming home,
From Spain.

This is what I found:
I am the only daughter; 
I have an older brother;
Who toured Europe;
My family is rich
But they are not my family

But this is what I know:
It is 19th century Philippines
That means the revolution
Is brewing
And I sit in the dining table
Across my brother
And I wonder who knows
And who do not
I wonder who is against
And who is not
Who are the allies?
And who are the traitors?

My brother is hot
He is not my brother
But they think he is
I’m not from here
But they think I am

I don’t know what happened.
I think I slept
And I traveled from the 16th century
To 19th century.
The beginning and the end.

Hey you
My brother says in Spanish
And I find myself understanding it
And speaking it
–My Spanish has never been good.
Hey you
I reply,
And I wonder if he is against
The revolution
Will he ever take part?
Or be part of the Spaniards
Who would sell us to the Americans?

We seem close,
Maybe because he had no one
And I guess I had no one too
So I felt comfortable with him

Do you have a woman?
Will you wed?
Will you enter politics?
Can you enter politics?
Will you inherit the plantation
And continue the abuse
To your kin?

I wanted to ask him
Of the revolution
But I realize I didn’t even know
The year.

1896, you silly.

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