I Write in my Aguila Facebook Family Group Chat that I'm Taking a Cebuano Class
Keana Aguila Labra
[Translations made from Tagalog]: To which my mother’s family thinks they are advising, “You don’t need that You’re not going to use it,”
“it,” referring to my father’s family tongue as if it isn’t a proper noun, as if it isn’t worthy of a name.
To which my uncle adamantly
lowering his voice in the way that is supposed to imply assertion because he is the he and he is the elder which are all assumptions I despise:
states, “Tagalog, This is the official language Of the Philippines. Your grandfather is From Batangas, Your grandmother is From Bulacan, We are Tagalog,
We are Manilenyo.”
[Translations from this point on made from Cebuano or Binisaya:] To which I respond: Fuck you each syllable firing more force than the pistons in my impatient leaded mouth:
I want to speak Cebuano.
in my broken pronunciation skittering across accents pressing within me, regret burning from the realization of lost years my grandmother’s voice scolding, Speak harder, Nana, speak rougher
I am not from Manila because I feel more close to the sea. I see my grandmother and her sisters, those three loud, proud Marias, and I beam:
I am Cebuano, And my language is
Keana Aguila Labra (they/she) is a published, Best of Net nominated Cebuana-Tagalog Filipinx poet, reviewer, and editor in diaspora residing on stolen Ohlone Tamyen land. They hope to foster a creative safe space for under-resourced and underrepresented communities with their online magazine, Marias at Sampaguitas. They're the author of two books of poetry: Natalie (Nightingale & Sparrow, 2020) and No Saints (Lazy Adventurer Press, 2020.)