Sarah Gambito on "I Am Not From The Philippines"

I Am Not From The Philippines

A white guy liked me and it was like
a lake might bend in half.   

I wanted to go to The Olive Garden.
I said Yes with my eyes like platelets.

When God was Filipino,
he put a pig and fire together and called it porkissimo.

I grabbed a Filipino girl's hand and she said are you a lesbian.
I faked it to myself. I faked it to them all.

All the nurses ever, ever in the world
are Filipino.

Like a push in the gut, I rush past the hovels of hospital rooms.
The great digital of machines and humans simmering at work.

The pork chop of the leg poking from the blanket.
There will always be sick people. You'll always have a job.
Nurses with their white soft shoes. Their cuneiform writing.
The change purses of nurses diveting around.

My aunts mothers uncles cousins whiplashing into nurses.

On "I Am Not From The Philippines"

Only someone from the Philippines would so
say they are not from the Philippines.

People from the Philippines know this.
I am not from the Philippines.
I am from the Philippines.

This poem is a collage of when I visited there:
what my family told me,
what I know to be true,
what frightens me to death.
How I noticed my thoughts outside of myself.
How I didn't realize most of everyone around me was a nurse,
until someone mentioned it.
You can't see who you are closest to.

Of course, this poem is also about first love.
A first date (my very, very first, y'all!) at the Olive Garden
When I ordered the "Italian Tour" because I was so afraid I wouldn't get to go back.  How I loved the beautiful menus. The tour took me to: fettuccine alfredo, chicken piccata, a red sauce with ricotta ravioli, stuffed mushrooms, etc. Way too much to eat.
I had never seen such big plates.

That these things are possible.

The biggest dare is that I allowed myself to suppose God as Filipino. I imagined him smiling down at all our barbecues, at all the fire and trying and making and sharing and families alive in parks.


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