Commuting from Rizal to Ortigas,

which is really not that far, I can observe just how the city (even a “green city”, which Pasig is) is made for productivity. Where out here, the contours are free-form,

over there I have to fit myself into rooms, rented, boxes inside boxes,

by Anna Canlas

inside of which there are tables where just yesterday I was packing shoes

from a rough brown shoebox to a white one. Sliding off my sandals so I can walk with more of a connection to the ground, feet turning sooty (proof that pollution gets in at the particle level to a room out back, through sealed windows), walking across the room, turning right angles cut out of air by the conference room table,

so I can ferry back and forth from a

stack of brown to a stack of white,

which I have placed out of reach, clean columns

rising like small buildings on top of the table so

they don’t get dirty like my feet. I have a system.  

Then the actual task of transfer— I touch each shoe, which, eccentrically shaped, with a toe that curls up like a lip, now feels like a living thing. This is more my nature now,

like in Rizal where I lounge

on boulders dropped into the middle of a forest; a piece of setback that we have landscaped is our yard.

This is where I built the habit of bare feet,

a transition I showed a boy last week 

who came to visit as I toured him from house, to garden. I slipped off my red tsinelas with the rings, with the heels on it; He said something like ‘I love how you are now a nature girl, naka-paa.’

I can't recall the exact words cause I was busy looking where I stepped, trying not to trip on the hem of my long purple dress.