“kabayan” by Isabella Peralta1 min read

10 June, 2020 0 comment

Illustration by Katya Roxas

kabayan

……..thirty-four years struggle for suitcase space
……..from the suffocating smog of a capital city
……..to the sandy slopes of an arabian kingdom

class of 1999
……..photo ripped edges blurred faces folded
……..diploma clutched with ringed fingers (valedictorian)
……..engaged to a man twice her age (prehistorian)

four-hundred-year-old church
……..decayed frame, a shattered gray glass picture
……..she steps right up to the marriage block —
……..going once, going twice, she’s sold! time’s up!

final destination: riyadh
……..one cramped economy seat
……..travel time: ten hours of exhaust fumes
……..a single ticket for a weary teary adult

passport, tattered and battered
……..trapped inside her employer’s closet
……..tears and scrapes become marks of time
……..as she saves enough riyals to send overseas

nokia phone, once viable, identifiable
……..for weekly choppy voice exchanges
……..a fellow filipino once smiled at her, asking
……..how are you, kabayan? can i call my child also?

 

 


Isabella Peralta is a storyteller and educator from the Philippines. Her writing explores race, identity, diaspora, culture, and love. She is a graduate of New York University Abu Dhabi and an advocate of diversity and representation in literature and new media. Her writing has been published by Literary Shanghai, Ricepaper, and Postscript Magazine, among others. 


Katya Roxas is a Communications Officer at UBC Library who has experience with branding, content creation and social media. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Multimedia Arts, specializing in graphic design and illustration, and a Diploma in Digital Marketing and Communications. Born and raised in the Philippines, Katya is well-versed with the sacrifices and opportunities that come with being an immigrant. Through her experiences, she strives to break the barriers of cultural misrepresentation by creating honest and inclusive visual expressions.

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