Goodbye Tatay

Goodbye Tatay*


Dear Tatay,

I still find myself talking about you in present tense.

It’s been twelve years since I flew from Manila,

I wish when I picked up the bags I was aware of the permanence.

of having to never smell your home’s scent of vanilla.


As I’m wiser now, of course I know

that a proper airport goodbye is what we deserved

one with crying and wailing and refusing to let go.

I can only admit this quietly to myself —unnerved.


Settling for a phone call half an hour before you departed

it was as if you were waiting by the phone for one last ring

“I love you” had never meant so much to me, you left me heavy-hearted

but I like to think that it was I that kept you waiting.


I still find myself praying for your health

all the years I was here and you were there,

your death was unfair with advantaged stealth.

Tatay, I love you, just please be aware.


Our conversations were filled with the question,

“When will we see each other again?”

Distance was clear but the answer left us in confusion

It was for reassurance, we could not admit it then.


Maybe now you’re look down at me writing this epistle—

holding back tears, although it is quite difficult.

I could let it all out, let it launch just like a missile.

But I learned to hide feelings as I grew into an adult.


Two years since you’ve been gone, I got to say goodbye

Feels like I can fly home to you and you’d be there with open arms.

We need you to come home, Tatay, but I know you’re up high.

Heaven might also need you more than your Balayan farms.


One day at a time I’m learning to start using past tense.

But for now, you are wondering when I will show.

This is meant to pour out my heart, much needed of a cleanse.

so here I am writing this letter--crying, and wailing, and refusing to let go.



*Tatay (/ta'tay/) – meaning father in Tagalog

            Tatay was my grandfather but the first father figure in my life.

This poem is about: 
My family
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 


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