I was seven years old and left all alone in our living room, that afternoon when I started believing that the things around me weren’t real. And to test the realness of the surrounding objects, I picked up one of my father’s life insurance sales award plaques and threw it down the floor. To test if it would break apart as it should, to test if it was real. It shattered across the hardwood. Later that night, out of penitence I tearfully confessed my misdemeanor to my mother and apologized with, “I don’t believe what I see!”
Mother took me to the ophthalmologist the following morning. The clinic was in another city so I had to skip my morning classes at school. The doctor tested me and I passed the eye exam with perfect vision. Mother scolded, “There’s nothing wrong with your eyes!” I clammed up. And we climbed into the car and she dropped me off at school by noon. I walked into the classroom where I was met by the curious stares of my teacher and classmates. I handed over my excuse letter to Ms. Ortiz, settled into my seat, closed my eyes, and with my small hands gripped the far edge of my desk with all my might to see if I could crush it. Then, breathing heavily, I let go to pull out the English textbook from my bag. I looked up and teacher was looking down at me with raised eyebrows. I just smiled at her.
KARLO SEVILLA of Quezon City, Philippines is the author of four poetry collections, among them are the full-length "Metro Manila Mammal" (Soma Publishing, 2018) and the chapbook “Recumbent” (8Letters Bookstore and Publishing, 2023). Shortlisted for the 2023 Creators of Justice Literary Award and the 2021 Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition, his poems appear in Philippines Graphic, Philippines Free Press, Matter, Radius, I am not a silent poet, Unlikely Stories Mark V, and elsewhere.