a. m. dobles

I am from the city, not the mountains nor the valleys,
not the rivers nor the sea. I belong to the high-rises
and the low-houses and the sewers and the creek.

If I stretch out my roots, toes wriggling,
I cannot feel the damp earth beneath my feet.
Even my lolo sa talampakan probably lived

around a plaza, made his devotionals under
high stone walls, and ventured out only to clasp
hands before Santa Maria in her grotto.

My tongue is heavy with round vowels
that glide like undulating waves against the shore,
unlike the staccato of rain, unlike lightning in a storm.

The tree has more than three hundred rings.
When I stretch out my roots, they rise above the
sway of the ocean, speared into the sand.

a. m. dobles grew up with a “foreign” accent in her own native tongue. She is a Filipino poet and scientist who spent her formative young adult years in Japan and now lives in Sydney, Australia. Catch more of her musings at