September 13, 2019 · Issue 01: In Transit

Culture

The first time I saw Apo Tudo, The Ilocano rain deity, I swear, he sent mist to that mountain Outside of Baguio Kissing the Filipino soil with sweet promises and tearful memories My grandmother shared stories from her childhood My father laughed as he played with masks In this moment, I feel full Showered with tiny drops Connecting me with my ancestors And when I share these stories With my Punjabi friend, We laugh at how our two deities would quarrel Over who’s story came first It is as if we are two channels of the same river My children will know of Apo Tudo And I hope they share his story while Watching the rain fall at their first slumber party Moreover, I hope another voice joins them in and says, “My mother told me a similar story…” This region is full of water bearers Those tasked with drawing droplets out of every breath Keeping and sharing our stories We protect the water To protect the community And Apo Tudo can only make so much rain We can only wash what we are allowed to touch, Only share what we can carry A water rich community is nothing If it cannot drink I want my children to ask me about the Apo Tudo’s Who have different names in the stories shared by their friends I want to rush to the library to grab as many books As their tiny hands can grab I want them to drink in as many droplets as possible Before they experience the draught of assimilation

This piece was originally published for Fast Forward Waterloo Region 2015.