Janice Lobo Sapigao


Janice Lobo Sapigao (she/her) is a Filipina American writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the author of two books of poetry: microchips for millions (Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc., 2016), which is about immigrant women workers in Silicon Valley; and like a solid to a shadow (Timeless, Infinite Light, 2017 by way of Nightboat Books), which is about her father, family lineage, and learning Ilokano. She authored two published chapbooks, "toxic city" (tinder tender press, 2015), and "you don’t know what you don’t know" (Mondo Bummer Chapbooks, 2016). She was the 2020-2021 Santa Clara County Poet Laureate, and a 2020 Poet Laureate Fellow with the Academy of American Poets. She is a full-time, tenured Associate Professor of English at Skyline College where she directs the Honors Transfer Program and teaches in the CIPHER (Hip Hop) Learning Community. She is an introvert, earrings collector, and expert at napping. She is always working on some writing project, somehow. Source


Immediately after the diagnosis, we flip through the racks.

Each of us yearns for a sweater or spoons—a reason to stay—a bargain—a bet.

Ma and I search different sections of the store for something—then each other.

Her—in lamps. Me—in clothes. Striking wires—

The clacking hangers clapping one after another—bursting at the joints 

mimicking the sounds of knobs turning,

or window panes breaking in slow motion, the air knocked out of them, too.

I stack clearance candles in our cart.

Ma checks out bathroom rugs and kitchen towels.

These days we build separate homes from red tag items.

I miss Ma the most between the Kitchen and Women’s Clothing departments.

Unraveled by the operation of how 

one builds a house from the inside.

A second diagnosis that day: I won’t ever come back here alone after she’s gone.

Isn’t shopping a series of searching?

On the best days, everything is a grab—a steal—cancer and—my mother from me.

My hope is that every space with four walls—that every day of treatment 

will be a door out—will be sunlight in bags—despite discount—let it be—big—

all the time we buy back.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




Health & Illness

Literary Devices:


the repetition of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words appearing in succession

Media Res

a literary work that begins in the middle of the action (from the Latin “into the middle of things)

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered

Sensory Detail

words used to invoke the five senses (vision, hearing, taste, touch, smell)

Slant Rhyme

A rhyme where the words have similar sounds in their stressed syllables.