All these houses, caged and barred at the windows, look like birdcages
holding flittering people. A paról, candle lit, swings in every gateway.
From the window, away from the city, I hold this night in a spoon
and swallow it like cough syrup. I too become sopped with stars.
With the bright moon of my face, I ask her, my parents’ country, for her blessing.
I never know when I’ll return, or if I have her blessing to come back—
we only communicate through light. Soon the sun splits from the horizon like a runny
yolk spreading over this stretch of sundried houses. The air sweetens. The metal gates
unlatch, swing and clang. The light glints against the stained glass windows, and like the
house, I swallow the sun and beam.
Lourdes Ramos is a twenty-four-year-old Filipinx American. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, she graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a BA in English. Currently, she attends Southern Illinois University–Carbondale as the Deans Fellow and an MFA poetry candidate. Find her on Twitter at @Lourdes__Ramos. • Photo by the author