‘Speak’ by Angela Gabrielle Fabunan


I saw the reflection of you in my morning cup

looking like me. Oh Narcissus, our love of peering

at ourselves is only an illusion. Do not be afraid

of the edges nor the ripples in the water, it gives us

character. At least we don’t have to say anything,

if only to look, to see you, traverse the waves.



Today was a day for stories.

We were on the grass collecting

our trash and we floated on

airs of small talk compounded by

memory seeping out like flotsam.


but you might as well be dead

by the time the first avowal is made.


so we hush hush,

like the breeze through the grass,

comforting ourselves through tales

in which we are the ambiguous and confused

heroes of our generation.



You are not one to be written down, so futile the attempt

to render one like fruit into a canvas in order to fill, to fill

the empty spaces, but I have to try.


Something about the way your eyes

light up in the dark iris of the night like fireflies.

But ahh I am botching this, I cannot capture it.


Today I dreamt you were inside the car with me

And I imagined you behind me, in the car,

Touching my shoulder, sliding your warm body

Against mine.Sublime. But you weren’t there.


Only the gargantuan idea of you. And yet,

the ideas of me that I left in that other country

aren’t with you either. A fair game.


And I was uneven in my attempt to brush your hair

within the contours of the paper, the colour

was outside of the lines. I made public displays

of affectation with your hands, the hands that combed

their way through my imagination, raking it.


So I sat on dreaming of unspoken things,

and I dared not speak, because words tire.

Teach me something poetry. Teach me never to lie

Down with pen but with a body. What is the difference?



And when I finally spoke I said all the wrong things,

juvenile my choice to express the incommunicable

with such jumping syllables, a soliloquy

you, Narcissus, were forced to hear.


Poet’s Bio: Angela Gabrielle Fabunan graduated from Bowdoin College and attended the University of the Philippines MA Creative Writing for a time. In 2016, she was awarded the Third Prize for Poetry from the Carlos Palanca Memorial Foundation. She is an alumnus of UP Writers Club.

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