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It has been two years since I've last seen my grandparents, titastitos, and cousins. I find myself thinking about them all the time – a longing exacerbated by a constant grapple with my identity as a Filipino-Australian woman. 


I like to think of you every now and then

It's getting hotter and the sticky air reminds me of you

I would come back if I could

I'd even sit in your traffic all day

Just to get a glimpse of you again. 


I fear sometimes that you won't welcome me back:

I've lost so many of the things you have gifted to me. 

I hope you understand why and I hope you know

that I'm trying, and that I haven't

forgotten it all

Home, let me come back to you, 

I want to sweat all over, 

fall asleep to the sound of a fan, 

cloth blanket twisted around my legs

air-conditioned breath cooling my skin

wake up to the smell of longanisa and rice

and the call of the taho man

feel the cool wooden stairs under the soles of my feet

run downstairs like I did when I was five

hear the jingle of rosemary beads dangling from the rear-view mirror

stay up late and watch movies with my lolo

get told off by Ma Janet because we've stayed up too late

visit my lola in her little apartment

and eat whatever we want, whenever we want

and teach her new ways of working the iPad

and watch horror movies in bed

Christmas is coming soon and I think I'll have

a big seafood dinner and a swim in the river

(the shallow end)

but I'd really like to come back to you, 


wander through your market stalls

in search of Christmas presents, 

play with the snow-frosted Christmas village

that Ma Janet brings out every year

"I remember how much you love it,"

she said when I last visited.

It was January but she kept them out,

just for me


I hope you still think that I belong to you, 

I keep up as best as I can

I know how to cook arroz caldo now

I talk about you to all of my friends

And I brave the heat better than anyone I know

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