Manila Sunrise

by Zora Engalan



I lay my head against the cool car window,

and watch the glowing yellowed bodega signs and graffitied walls inch by. 
Out of the corner of my eye I see a little bodega, 
“Manila sunrise”,

and I smile.

I don’t know what city we’re in.

45 minutes away from home, dark, no street lamps glowing

All I know is that Jahia is scared.

I can feel her anxiety from the passenger seat

And all I know is I don’t know if I should be scared too.

“All you need for old men to look at you is pussy”, Jahia says

“All you need is to be exotic”, I say quietly, to a car full of pretty brown girls, 
eyes on the bodegas blurring together as we accelerate

My little Manila Sunrise long gone. 


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