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Bahala ka sa buhay mo. However, for simplicity’s sake, let’s just call this Fate.*

You believe you’re invincible when you’re young. Nothing can hurt you until it does. Paranoia rings of excess. But even if you were to get hit by a car, or struck by lightning, or bitten by a dog, you knew you would be fine. There would be no hesitation. What happens when you aren’t seeking danger? When you adhere to your mother’s raucous voice, and you give her your phone whenever she asks, so she can check your texts, and make sure there are no boys texting you
even though a majority of your best friends, truly just friends, are boys? Then, you think maybe if you were a boy, then you would have none of these problems, there would never be a fear of being a slut, of boys texting you because they want it when you accidentally type the word ‘cuming’ when responding to a text, and your friends laugh, but you don’t understand why, and they don’t bother to explain, and you will learn the hard way later. You always seem to digress, to return to embedded bitterness. You followed the rules. But no one truly understands the underlying workings of the universe. You slip and fall and scrape your knee. Scrape is an understatement. There is now a crater where flesh once was in your knee. But you carry yourself up. You take the steps necessary to make it back to the locker room, the red lining your leg like a comet, a shooting star. You believe you’re invincible when you’re young. Nothing can hurt you
until it does.

Keana Aguila Labra (she/her) is a Tagalog & Cebuana poet, writer, & an advocate for Filipinx voices in the literary arts residing on unceded Ohlone territory. Knowing the importance of representation, she hopes to foster a creative safe space for Filipinx and marginalized communities with her online magazine, Marías at Sampaguitas. She writes reviews for literature & media through a feminist lens. She taught a Q&A poetry workshop with Teen Belle Magazine and is slated to host book club sessions in June with Periwinkle Literary Magazine. Her micro-chapbook Natalie is forthcoming with Nightingale & Sparrow. She may be found on Twitter, Instagram, & Medium as @KeanaLabra.

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