Afloat in the Pacific
By Mlen Azurin
Superpowers do not exist, so they say.
But let me tell you about human flight.
In 1996, a young man flew for 11,700 kilometers.
He soared 30,000 feet in the air
to land in a country that didn’t even use the metric system.
So I used feet here for dramatic effect
And so Americans can understand.
Now his English was okay,
A little accented, but just enough to get by.
He lived in a tiny LA home,
with an aunt to teach him the way.
Shortly after, a young woman he knew from college joined him.
He proposed to her a while before over the phone.
I was eight, with wide eyes and a glittering in ‘em,
When I learned of this not so romantic story.
Now let me tell you about where he flew from.
A country riddled in poverty,
But with a hospitality that can cleanse the filthiest heart
And lands so riveting they have to be art.
In 2000, a little girl was born at 7:42am.
So much potential in the tiniest of bundles,
Surrounded with love and grace.
Who knew of what she would face?
Now let me tell you about myself.
I’m stuck in this ravine of cultures
The Philippines is in this strategic spot,
And because of it, in wars it was caught.
From it bubbled a confusion.
I’m not Asian enough Because of imperialism from Spain
But I will not claim the source of 300 years of pain.
My origin is not considered Hispanic, either.
Because of its language and East Asian influences,
And its basic geographical location Which places it in Asia.
But the country that this man flew to,
The one that doesn’t use the metric system,
Ruled us, it’s true.
And it’s the location of my birth.
Now let me remind you of the importance of labels.
Outsiders find it so necessary
To put us on a spectrum
Because it’s easier that way.
For them, but not me.
Not the little girl born at 7:42am,
Who’s stuck in this arbitrary web.
She wants to fit in with the larger crowd,
But she can’t help but feel a bit lost
. A little too different,
Like she’s afloat in the Pacific Ocean.
Now let me tell you about superpowers,
The man could fly,
The woman built force fields to protect the girl,
And the girl could swim for lifetimes
But still feel like she’s drowning.