When a foreign pathogen enters the body, the body primes itself for its defense. Three things happen: first, its recognition of the enemy; then, a proliferation of cells; before finally, the attack. Some cells will die after this exchange, but those that remain will remember the pathogen, ready if it ever comes back. Here, the body says death is not enough. Here, death is only secondary to memory. Here, to resist is to remember everything. In 2016, nine Philippine Supreme Court Justices ruled for the heroes’ burial of a late dictator. In 2021, his son rises to the presidency. What to make of this resurgence, if not a presage of a failing memory, a willingness to forget? These days, when someone asks me what immunocompromised means, I think T-cell ratios, thrush, chemo, cancer, country, Filipino. But perhaps it is unfair to think of a country as an agglomeration of cells. Perhaps it is impossible to reduce our lived identities to fit a scientific metaphor. But in class, a classmate raised a question, asked if it was possible for immune cells to have the capacity to forget. I’d like to think our professor was referring to us when they said they rarely do.

By Andre Aniñon

Andre Aniñon is a poet, teacher, and medical technologist from Amlan, Negros Oriental. His work has appeared in Revolt Magazine, Kathang Haka: Big Book of Fake News, and Voice & Verse Poetry Magazine. He is currently taking up his master's degree in public health at Silliman University, Dumaguete City.

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