When you least expect it

Your ordinary life

Is sprinkled with fairy dust

And blessed with love.


I stopped looking for extraordinary signs,

Extraordinary circumstances;

Knights on white horses,

The random grand gestures

That blind you

To the billion simple joys

A kindred soul brings


One day, I realized

Magic is the capacity to see wonder

In everyday things.



Lost Teddy

Still on the subject of teddy bears… On a trip to Kyoto two years ago, while jostling my way through the throng of tourists to get the requisite shot of the Kinkaku-ji (The Golden Pavilion), something curious caught my eye. Sitting jauntily on the bamboo fence in front of the tranquil temple was a little caped teddy! The sight was so incongruous–and utterly charming. Kawaii! Yet, I couldn’t help but feel a little tug in my heart for the poor child who had obviously misplaced his or her furry friend. Though my travel buddies were already moving on along the garden path, I hung back to see if anyone would come to claim Captain Cute. Sure enough, after a few minutes a little girl and her parents seemed to be cautiously retracing their steps, and soon, the girl gave a whoop of joy upon finding her precious bear. What luck to have witnessed this happy reunion!


Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto, 2012. Photographed by Pierra C. Labrador

Exchange Student



Everyone talks too much

In the new foster home

I am assigned to.


Everyone wants to know

Every detail of your day,

Your date,

Your life

Had I know it would be this way

I would have faked a

Language barrier

Even if it meant

Sacrificing my pride.


When everyone fights,

It’s even worse;

We are encouraged to voice our feelings,



As if I could think straight

In a rage.


Everyone is all touchy-feely

As if they could cure

Two decades of my pain

With a hug

(I know it’s a start, but—)

They think I’m rude

When I cannot reciprocate

When I cannot talk when I am mad

Or return an embrace


They must learn

That I was just not built that way.

They should not judge;

I am not the only student in this house.


When their intrusive chatter

Grows too loud

I wonder if their own son,

Who lives halfway around the world

In my house,

Has discovered the eerie,

Liberating feeling

Of living without sound.


Birds, San Francisco, 2006. Photographed by Pierra C. Labrador