The Indo-Pacific wing is dark and small.
I leave white walls and high ceilings to enter.
What that is Indo
Even before my father
Even before my mother
Took an air-boat to this
And did not change her name.
The hyphen in my own last name
Nods as I enter.
An ancestor is often shown seated, says the plaque, in the posture assumed by elders when in consultation of community affairs. In a wood-carved statue, I see a brown man squatting. Think of the old women on the highways in the typhoon slush of Metro Manila, squatting with plastic baskets of car-wash rags and sampaguitas.
Ancestor squat like
Car rag sellers on the highway overpasses
Black glass glitter of the eyes glinting
And dead wood floors, glass boxes
Bound by the invention of a nation state. Still,
This is close:
The placard beneath a woven jacket reads
where my mother played. Is there something to sharing the same ocean.
Maybe passing the mountain where this was made on the drive up to mama’s lola’s house.
Cowry shells for eyes and
The body that would have fit in this jacket and
Me with my maroon Converse and
New York Japanese jeans.
I wonder if the guard notices silhouettes of cowry in my own eyes when I glance
Ghost of black glass glitter or
Maybe I just want someone to notice
Me walking into my own history
(the invention of the nation state)
Here in glass boxes on the third floor
Of a University Gallery, Connecticut
On a grey fall day, this
Modernist building, these