What Ditas Left

by Justine Camacho Tajonera

My mother left bangles
in her jewelry box,
poems that my father
can no longer find,
paintings of birds breaking
free from cages and
umbrellas catching

She painted me
looking over a butterfly-
sleeve and my brother
in blue and orange
with a look of awe.

My mother left me
a little trail of things:
pictures of her
beautiful, wide-eyed
saying 'wow'
over and over,
a gold pendant,
a set of books etched
all over with her analysis
of characters,
bright, bold declarations
as thought I would debate
with her over time.
I recognize my own writing
in her staccato style.

Sometimes when I read
what she scrawled at the
back of her photo album
I cry:
Life is full of sound and
fury, yes.
But full of significance
too. Just you wait and
see, just you wait and
see, just you want and

only three
years with
you, Mommy.

I have a hand-
ful of gifts now,
things you never
would mean so much.

You left me
your eyes,
your wonder,
you left me
my name.

Justine Camacho Tajonera's picture

Justine Camacho – Tajonera was born and grew up in Cebu City, Philippines. Her mother named her after Justine, the stepdaughter of Justine Hosnani, from the Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell. She lost her mother at the age of three and this loss has been a recurring theme in her work. She has a degree in Communication Arts from the Ateneo de Manila University (Philippines) where she got a Dean’s Award for the Arts for her prose and poetry. Despite starting a corporate career in telecommunications, she pursued an M.A. in English Literature to keep her close to her first love of writing., She has had her poetry published in several anthologies and local publications and she recently published her eBook, <a href="http://www.lulu.com/shop/justine-camacho-tajonera/artemis-lets-go/ebook/product-20735014.html" target="_blank">Artemis Lets Go</a>, on Lulu.com. She maintains a poetry blog, <a href="http://claimingalexandria.blogspot.com" target="_blank">Claiming Alexandria</a>, from which she has gathered most of the poems for her book, <a href="http://www.lulu.com/shop/justine-camacho-tajonera/gift-poems/ebook/product-20734890.html" target="_blank">Gift</a>., She works full time in the mobile content industry in the Philippines, is married and has two children. Writing is her passion and she will continue to write all her life.

Last updated May 17, 2013