Plain Meaning

by Ruby Roselle Lorenzo Tugade

To learn the law is to discover words one has to use for the rest of one’s life.

Germane. Enjoin. Estopped.


There are things I would rather say simply. There are things

I would rather feel simply.

I wonder, what pleasure do we gain from a complex existence?


Complexity is the winding mechanism of a tragedy. And so of suffering, too.

The grand excuse is, so that we may learn, as if we matriculate

in pain out of our own volition.


I studied some French the summer after law school. When I discovered

reciting numbers after sixty required arithmetic, I walked out

with my broken phrases—désolé—and never looked back.


Why must we confess and heal in meandering sentences,

when all that affection requires is that we strip bare?


Appurtenant. Servient.


Isn’t it simpler to say⁠: this is where this belongs.