On My Birthday

by Rebecca T. Añonuevo
Translated from Filipino by J.A. Del Prado
(see original here


What can be awakened with what is unsaid?

Once again, I nearly become restless
thinking that even the purest
offering of love
leads to nowhere
in this world.

Like a farmer in a vineyard,
I ask again for my right.
I weaken upon receiving my salary,
this small—even after my bones
cracked and every corner
of my senses trembled
under the rage of the rain and sun.

Who chases and grabs embers?

Only this special day, I greet
myself, who asks again,
as if prosecuting,
while the clash between
depression and elation, the sure
and insecure, ensues.

This is what scattered scarcity
cannot suppress—pulsing, living,
uttering, repeating,
amidst this crumbling
forming, keeping, surrendering,
hanging on tightly
even when palms rip
out of mourning and


Rebecca T. Añonuevo is the author of four anthologies of poetry: Bago ang Babae, Pananahan, Nakatanim na Granada ang Diyos, and the latest, Saulado, all winners of the Don Carlos Memorial Awards for Literature. She was recently awarded the Southeast Asian Writers Award from the Thai Royal Family. She currently heads the Department of English at Miriam College. 

J.A. Del Prado earned his bachelor’s degree in Literature, cum laude, from the University of Santo Tomas, where he is also taking his MA. His translations of Filipino poems have been published in Aldus: A Journal of Translation (Brown University), K1N: Journal of Literary Translation (University of Ottawa), and International Poetry Review (University of North Carolina-Greensboro)

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