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.