Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Mother, May I?, Leila Tualla

Her insult sat on her tongue, before it spewed its venom 

unto my skin. Her vile words latched on, burrowing its way inside me,

and acting as a cancer; turning perfectly healthy pieces of me into 

fading embers of a person. I found solace

in pages of books, along the cracks of dusty baseboards, and 

hiding in darkened closets. Anywhere I could find to be

as small as I could, and breathe

as little as possible, and be

invisible in this house.

Her hatred of me, about me clinging to me like skin 

and would manifest from time to time; pinpricks of worthlessness and

waves of nauseated panic rendering me scared and 

needing to hide.

Now I’m standing and staring at this dilapidated structure of

a home where my heart never did quite belong. I thought

I’d be able to bury these memories along with her. But my scars 

were grown from insults, and nightmares had built my foundation.

Leila Tualla is a Filipino-American poet and author. Leila’s books include a YA contemporary romance called Letters to Lenora and a memoir/poetry collection called Storm of Hope: God, Preeclampsia, Depression and me. Her poetry is featured in several mental health anthologies and she is currently working on a poetry collection based on Asian American stereotypes and identifies.

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