My tongue is still fetal curled inside an eggshell mouth Two languages between us and we still don’t know how to speak to each other. Words might be the only thing we have in common. Unable to spit up syllables that pigeonhole my identity. Malikot, so naughty; a familiar refrain throughout my childhood. Matigas ang ulo, so headstrong; the chorus of my adolescence and my adulthood. And disapproval feels closer when coming from those with a similar skin to my mother. If I disagreed— so stubborn. If I dared disobey— so selfish. If my mother knew what words lurked beneath my tongue— Perhaps I am just as they say a canary that unpacks her lungs from their cage, and sings colours into the sky.
Jenny Wong is a writer, traveler, and occasional business analyst. She resides in the foothills of Alberta, Canada and tweets @jenwithwords. Publications include Claw & Blossom, Atlas & Alice, Whale Road Review, Lost Balloon, and FlashFlood as part of the 2020 International Flash Fiction Day UK.