Made in China
Made in the Philippines
Tags attached to our backs
Which others read as
They tell of the different fabrics we’ve been woven with
How delicately we should be treated
If we can handle hot or cold or mild best
These tags sometimes make me feel tumble dry low
There is still more of me to know than this tag
What there is of me to learn takes pages and pages
Turn this tag into a cape with space for each bearer to write on
Otherwise the tag can render the human it’s attached to invisible
These tags are not more valuable than the human
My history and my memories are part of my summation which cannot be summarized into one tag
Memories of the Philippines
I remember strolling through the palengkes as I held my mother’s hand. We rushed through and past people, my legs and breath tried to catch up as three of my footsteps were equivalent to one of my mother’s.
I remember the yelling and the commotion as people bartered, the vendors barked orders at one another, and people fanned themselves with whatever was available to relieve themselves from the heat.
I remember the flashes of colour – the silver gleam of the fish, the yellows of the bananas and the reds of rambutans.
I remember licking my lips at the sight of fresh peanuts fried and doused in salt. I remember then tugging on my mother’s shirt, pointing at the peanut stand in hopes of going home with a greasy brown paper bag that day.
My days were filled with mango bright yellows, intense oranges, mellow greens, and the searing hot sun which was made up for by the rainy days which cooled us all down.
Memories of Canada
I remember my mouth agape in wonder that the sun was still up at 8 PM during the summer, unheard of in the Philippines.
My head tilted sideways as I tried to figure out the new slang— “So a loonie refers… to a dollar?”
I remember the first night my family reunited,all of us asleep on one bed — a tangle of legs and arms.
That bed was the softest place I had ever landed on.
I was made in the Philippines and then moved to Canada, but that is not all there is to be known.
My tag is Filipino-Canadian, but there is more to it than a demographic. Each one that makes up the hundreds of thousands
is more than.