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Fish Heart

I have always had a

fish motif in my writing.

Beating gutted fish hearts,

A fish pulling its fisherman

Back in

Mothers pregnant with

fish babies

I have always had a fish motif in my

writing and never knew why.

As I spoke to my Lola,

who carefully compiled her memories into

grammatical English sentences,

I learned fish tangibly.

Fish, dangling from the hooks of

bamboo sticks of Parañaque fishermen

My great Lolo, a Parañaque fisherman,

and salt maker and oyster breeder and carpenter

Fish to survive

Fish, color not imperative, dangling with bloodied mouths from hooks Small ones in the buckets of children

Fish skinned by mothers with knives, fish


Fish sauce bought for 10 centavos

fish sauce bottle carried proudly by my 6-year-old Lola fish sauce bottle hit against her head

because she had dropped the change.

Fish swam upstream,

up through my great Lolo

up through my Lola

up through my mother, who got sick on fishing trips as a child, up through me.

My mother apologizes for the smell of fish sauce. My knowing of fish is


Colorful, imaginative, in the hearts of mermaids in the heart of mine.

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