Bigas, Hindi Bala

By: Danielle Hannah V. Aranda
Artwork by Samantha Denise Torres

“Magtanim ay ‘di biro
Maghapong nakayuko.”

Maybe there is more to this than just grain.
Where the spaces between your toes are filled with the land so rich, enveloping the skin in earth and the muddiness of it all. As the sun drowns you in prickly heat with anchors of minutes on top of hours, curving your spine beyond repair.

Other than gluttony, what else wages inside you as the high noon exhaustion settles in? Hunger remains in them, you know. Those who reap the harvest scour for what little they may beg to keep. Your extra cup is a year of backs bent to the ground, and your spilled milk is gold.

Sometimes, the heavens are forgiving. In most seasons, you gnaw on nothing.
What use is our motherland if we refuse her gifts? What love do we have when our brothers become collateral damage? Sprawled across page six as another casket among 20,000?

It is more than just grain; with it comes blood and bullets.