love poems

Mute Ode

When I saw you coming I walked away
stopping myself from saying your name.
Then I realized, after all this time,
that it had been as it was: me refusing
to say a word. I went on pretending
so I could keep this from ending.

Since I’ve been forgotten, I often
returned to this thought: Holding back
the truth cannot comfort the distraught.
Even as you vanished, inside me
you were wrought. The unsaid
can never be lost: a hand on your chest,
wristbands, a static screen, the path
made by a river drying, burnt homes
in a storm, your favorite book.
Me one day returning it.

After Dean Young


I wrote Mute Ode in 2017 after concluding one of the longest relationships I have ever had. I was inspired after reading one of my favorite love poems (or more like lost love) by Dean Young called Ash Ode. My poem is an ekphrasis, and sadly, I feel it pales in comparison to the source of my inspiration. But in any case, as for remaining true to what I wished to articulate, I think writing an ekphrasis certainly helped me express what I needed to say.

This year, a good friend of mine was kind enough to translate Mute Ode into Tagalog and Spanish. You can read his beautiful translations here, just click the following links.

Mute Ode translations by Ralph Fonte:

Tagalog – Odang Umid

Spanish – Oda Muda

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