Pampaputi (For Whitening)


You become obsessed
with papaya soap.
12 years old.

they say.
for your armpits.
for your elbows.
for your knees.
for your…

“Kung maputi ka lang,”
(if only).

You become obsessed
with hiding.
Arms in long sweaters (from the sun)
Wide brim hats (from the sun)
Your whole body (from the look in their eyes,
the taunting smiles, and the titas with papaya).

“Kung ‘di ka lang maitim”
(if only).

You become weary.
(of orange soap)
21 years old.

“Masyado kang nasa labas! Umiitim ka na!”
(tama na)

Eyebrows raised,
hands poised to push away,
face turned to the side,
and you say
“What’s so wrong about me?”

Eyes shut,
hands on your skin,
“para sa puti”.

Because even here,
your brown skin,
would be so much better,
would be so much nicer,
would be so much
(if only)
you were maputi.

-         f.d

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