Lisa Suguitan Melnick

Lisa Suguitan Melnick is a third generation Fil-Am of Ilokano and Cebuano roots. She is the author of #30 Collantes Street (Carayan Press, 2015) and also a correspondent for PositivelyFilipino.com. Her published pieces in Positively Filipino earned Plaridel Awards in 2020 for Best Profile Writing (“The Scholar Unplugged”), and Best Feature Writing (“Utom Unfolds T’boli Myths Through Music”).  Her work is also published in Beyond Lumpia, Pansit, and Seven Manangs Wild, edited by Evangeline Buell et al (Eastwind Books, 2014) and The New Filipino Kitchen, edited by Jacqueline Chio-Lauri (Agate Surrey Press, 2018). She currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Hinabi Project. 

Poems on Belonging

ManG/Ko

Grandpa fried scrambled eggs on high. Small skillet. High fire. Quick in and out. 
Grandma saves her styrofoam cups
Washing them again and again, drying them—bite marks around the rim and all—in the sun

It is said there were twins when my dad was born, but one didn’t make it.  Maybe that’s why he always felt extra needy.  One of the eggs got scrambled in the frenzy.

FAVORITE SISTER OF THE NEWEST ANCESTOR

Maybe I had just finished talking with him on the phone and he was doing well. Maybe I had even gotten to hear him laugh, pain-free. “We only have this moment,” I would say to him. Maybe I was gauging how he was doing, from the tonality in his voice. Maybe somewhere in the conversation he told me I was his favorite sister. Maybe him sounding so well that day helped me decide that it would be okay for me to visit him on his birthday. I couldn’t imagine it might be his last.

The most divine day that many only dream of, but it wasn’t.  A dream I mean.  He made fried rice. We hung out on the couch watching Flip this House—a show he loved to watch and it didn’t require too much head work. The day was bright. 

Copyright © 2022 by Lisa Suguitan Melnick. Used with permission of the author.