Thanksgiving in Tagalog

My mother left the turkey,
            forfeited it to gaze at the window. Calls me

Anak in that beaten-up tongue, hardened
            against the softer English velvet, tells me

to spread the table with spoons and forks
            like the way we were civilized to shy from our hands—

American utensils trickling down the family
            palms, clinking old skulls in a struggle to make out

any glass sort of tune to prove my ancestors held
            water to soak those vowels in: a, e, i, o, , ng

the turkey coils inside the oven, screams
            against the harsh, on the blackboard s is for snakes

shhh. The room smokes, and meanwhile
            the teachers are correcting the sounds breaking

in those stubborn tongues so the balls sizzle into the mitt
            in a civilized way while my mother is staring at a turkey

the pantry volunteers told her to choke
            with herbs and shove into an oven as if it would

never burn the first time.

Yvanna Vien Tica is a previous mentee of the Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program and has been featured in the Filipino-American Chicago newspaper MEGAscene, The Rising Phoenix Review, and The Interlochen Review. She currently serves as an Editor-in-Chief for The Faith Review and lives as a TCK Christian in the Philippines.

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2 Responses to Thanksgiving in Tagalog

  1. L.K. Latham says:

    Love perspectives other than my own.

  2. Josef Lemoine says:

    As an older Filipino American, I’m jealous of your command of the English language, clear connection to culture, and strength of your voice, especially at such a young age. You’re already so accomplished, and your potential is boundless. I look forward to reading and experiencing what you create in the future. Godspeed.

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