We cannot take Thina, Daimhin, and Muti with us.
They’re too big.
Just put on your Sunday’s best
and tie your hair into pigtails,
so you can resemble your dolls.
That way, you’re bringing them with you.
We cannot bring your crayons.
Not even your coloring books or drawing pads.
They’re too many.
Just put on your shoes with your favorite colors on it.
That way, you’re treading on rainbows when we leave.
We cannot carry your story books.
They’re too heavy.
Just hold this piggy bank while I take the safe box.
Our arms can only bear so much.
That way, we take only what’s necessary.
We cannot tote your play tent.
It’s too big and too old.
Just like this house, worn out and hollow.
I promise, we’ll buy a new one.
Where we’re headed sells better tents.
I can see our ride in the driveway.
Dear child, why are you crying?
We don’t have time.
What’s that, child?
No, child. I’m sorry.
We cannot wait for Papa.
Margaux Denice Garcia, a graduate of BS Education at the Ateneo de Davao University, was a fellow of the 2011 Davao Writers Workshop.