The Day After Filipino American History Month

it came and
went like a slippery
fish in my hands

i had no time to
celebrate or

on November 1st i
looked at my Filipino
face in the bathroom
mirror and it looked
back like it’d never
seen me before

and i remember
how my grandmother
would speak over the
phone in Tagalog

i didn’t know who
she was talking to
or what she was

i was just
a kid

and i walked down
Mission Street the day
after Filipino American
History month

a homeless guy
lay on the ground
like he was shot

and the firemen
pulled to the

they approached
the man’s prone

One of the
fireman had a
Filipino face, blue
shirt and badge as
big as his body

he put his
boot on the
man’s back and
pushed into it

“Hey, you awake?”
he said

the man awoke,
startled and took
off towards the corner

the firemen got
into their truck

i walked over and
looked up at the guy
with the Filipino face
and said, “You Filipino?”

yeah, he said

yeah, me too
i said

You know, i said, you
shouldn’t put your
foot on a guy’s back
like that

he’s a human
being like you,
you know

You’re making
us look bad,
i said

and the man with
the Filipino face
looked at me, without
anger, without emotion,
without anything

and the fire truck
eased away from
the curb and took

one day

after Filipino
American history

(c) 2016 Tony Robles


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