"Everything is Exactly the Same as it Was the Day Before" by Ina Cariño

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January 17, 2023 

Everything is Exactly the Same as it Was the Day Before

Ina Cariño
New Year on my mountain

mama says: long noodles, long life,
so I slurp them loud, drink gingery
broth—polka-dot beads of sweat
forming as my nose hovers over
the soup’s steam. circles for luck.

circles on my dress. papa says:
make a lot of noise! so the children
bang on pots & pans to hush
yesterday’s demons. later, in the cold,

the family plods up the hill to wonder
at the fireworks, sky like a warzone lit
with spraying flames from Roman Candles—
fire on the ground from Watusi whips snaking
& coiling, sizzling our feet.

I feel it all in my chest—
a drumming,
a warning, a spell.

back in the yard, granny doles out rice
& meat, pineapple liquor, glass bottles
of Sprite. but I am snoring by midnight,
my sisters & I still swathed in red chiffon.

by morning, I cry because I missed it.
I cry because they say I’m not alone.
I cry because home is a warning,
its pulse a whiff of flint in the dark.

Copyright © 2023 by Ina Cariño. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 17, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

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“I grew up in the Philippines and was surrounded by folk superstitions without knowing they were superstitions; as in, I’d thought of them as facts. After moving to the U.S. at the age of eleven, I looked back on my early childhood with more of a removed mindset due to being surrounded by a new culture, new facts, and new environs, all of which negated the superstitions I grew up with. Culture shock aside, I am still fond of the folk stories of my youth—and I am still trying to reconcile the fact of my existence in the diaspora with the magic I used to believe in.”
Ina Cariño

Ina Cariño

Ina Cariño is a Filipinx American poet and the author of Feast, forthcoming in 2023 from Alice James Books. A Kundiman Fellow, they are the recipient of a 2022 Whiting Award and a winner of the 2021 92Y Discovery Poetry Contest.

Feast

Feast
(Alice James Books, 2023)

“Whānau” by Ngaio Simmons
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“the shoes” by Wo Chan
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