A Mother’s Silence

What mother does not say
she folds over and over
to hand to a little girl
who keeps them.
In a drawer, clothes
carefully pressed. Letters
from grandmother. Rose
petals inside a prayer
book never opened.

What mother refuses
to say. Careful when folding
a little girl’s clothes. Keep them
in the drawer. Let no one
touch them. Letters still there
except grandmother. With a prayer,
mother remembers the book
where petals rest.

What a little girl never says
rests somewhere in her chest
heaving behind clothes which were
once folded. In the drawer,
grandmother’s letters
keep prayers no one touches
except mother folding
a little girl’s hand into a rose.

JULIENNE MAUI CASTELO MANGAWANG is taking up her MA in Creative Writing at the University of the Philippines – Diliman. She has poems published in 聲韻詩刊 Voice & Verse Poetry Magazine (Hong Kong), ALPAS Online Journal (PH), and is forthcoming in The Rumpus. At the moment, she has interests in exploring Filipino households and how it affects or develops the individual.