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Purple Season

By Genevieve S. Aguinaldo

PROMPT—During Covid-19 ...

It was 4 am when you told me that you had the virus

How can you tell me not to panic?

We are separated by nine hours of borders and grief

By husbands and halted dreams

While you wait in isolation, you asked me to tell you a story

You have always feared doctors and needles.

As if on cue, I started to tell you

about the time I climbed a cotton candy tree

I wanted to get the ripest fruit, so I climbed higher

never considering my ankle-length skirt.

As I reached for more, my skirt got stuck on a branch and I fell.

A rusty rake was just two inches beside me

You sniffed and told me that the nurse just came

It was time for your test but you told me not to hang up

I waited as I heard your question, “What will happen to my baby?”

I stopped my tears as you came back

Tell me another one, you said.

I reminded you of the time when my /s/ was /t/

When you ask me to say mentos and it will come out as “mentot”

I was so angry at you back then

I asked you if you remember that we used to keep grasshoppers in jars

And bring it home to scare our sister

I asked you if you remember that you still owe me ten pesos

You laughed and told me that you were already paid

“So you see, you have to live, you still have to pay me.”

I told you afraid of the returning tears

You said yes and ended the call

From my window I could see the light shining around

I smell a distant sinangag, with all the crispiness of garlic

I wonder if the neighbors can still feel

As I finally gave in to my tears

I was overwhelmed with grief

Even my hydrangeas are sick


Genevieve S. Aguinaldo earned her Communication Arts degree from the University of the Philippines Los Banos and Diploma in Language and Literacy Education from UP Open University. Some of her work has appeared in the Shadow Pond Journal, Wales Haiku Journal, haikuNetra, Scarlet Dragonfly Journal, Shot Glass Journal, and Cold Moon Journal. She loves sharing stories during long drives. She lives in Los Banos, Philippines with her husband and four children.


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