American Tanaga / Mississippi Kamayan

my parentsfill my freezer

with enoughkare-kare

and sinigangto last   me

throughmy nextapocalypse

too afraidto chareggplant

directlyon the burner

I strugglepeelingthe brown

skinso timidlyblackened

at the Chinese church   with Mal

at the endof the food line:

a glass dishwith yellow cake

my motherhas madebefore

en routeto Water Valley

I tell SumeetI almost

broughtriceto the crawfish boil

you should havehe sayswhy not?

our thirdor fourthdinner shared

at Nate’s:I putmy fork down

wheredo you keepsilverware

I askI need   a spoon too

the weekendis for making

lumpiawith Lorena

we learnone millionways

to roll   perfectlittletubes

macaroni sopaswarms

the boneswith littletrouble

and without failure:the first

mealI recreatefrom home

Noreen Ocampo, who has long black hair, wears golden glasses and a black long-sleeved shirt, and smiles at the camera. Behind her are trees with orange and green leaves.

Noreen Ocampo is a Filipino American writer and poet from metro Atlanta. Her collection Not Flowers won the 2021 Variant Lit Microchap Contest, and she is also the author of There Are No Filipinos in Mississippi, forthcoming from Porkbelly Press in 2024. Her work can be found in AAWW’s The Margins, Sundog Lit, and Depth Cues, among others. She holds a BA in English from Emory University and studies poetry in the MFA program at The University of Mississippi, where she is working to document and elevate stories of Filipino Americans in the Deep South.