On the Jeepney

My thigh crushes someone else’s thigh

as we bang the corner by Chowking.

We share leg space when there’s none.

The wind whips in from the window

that’s gone & we breathe the same

polluted air. People pile in & don’t stop.

Every stranger could be my sister

or nephew & is. Not by blood perhaps

pero by country––7,000 islands

that’s ours       & isn’t. Two boys hang

off the tailgate for miles

& they’re my kin. I haven’t seen them

since Japan invaded, since my grandpa

climbed on a ship to anywhere else.


Troy Osaki is a Filipino Japanese poet, community organizer, and attorney from Seattle, WA. A three-time grand slam poetry champion, he has earned fellowships from Kundiman and the Jack Straw Cultural Center and grant awards from Artist Trust and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture. His work has appeared in the Bellingham Review, Blood Orange Review, Hobart, and elsewhere. He writes in hopes to build a safe and just place to live in by uniting the people and reimagining the world through poetry.