Barefoot she went walking to the store.
Her father had sent her to buy bread for dinner even though
There was plenty left over.
It was a three mile walk to the nearest community shop.
Far away from home she saw a bunch of soldiers nearby.
She was preparing a shy smile when
She felt them approaching her.
As she heard them spitting at her half spoken phrases
With half spoken words, her legs froze.
Next thing she felt was their breaths full of liquor and lust.
When she could finally lift her head
She saw the image of a girl.
Perfect reflection on a mirror hang on a muddy wall.
Her body naïve and vulnerable.
Her eyes full of stupor and disbelief.
Their odor and saliva possessing her.
Through a half opened window,
I see the seesaw of the sunset lifting the moon,
My father would be looking for me I think, soon, soon…
Hours have passed.
The men are exhausted but will not stop.
Suddenly, I hear a familiar voice!
I open my perched mouth yet manage to overhear
My father bartering away
my childhood, innocence, will and trust.
I am no longer me, I am an image in a mirror.
On object destined to serve.
I am awoken by a child’s faint cry.
As I look around I see all these women; waiting oh so patiently.
Each waits for a nurse to call her name.
For a man to hold her hand.
For those obscure nights to dissipate into a dream.
For the bumps on their bellies
to be worth a soul, a sin, a miraculous thing.
No, no one has a ring..
There’s an awkward silence.
The siblings of the unborn interrupt.
Some fragile women secretly thankful to be distracted away from their ambivalent thoughts and trepidation seek refuge in reprimanding the unruly children.
A tumult of questions inundate my mind.
Incessant raindrops leaving puddles of muddy thoughts.
There is a girl across the room she had shared with the group that her husband had gone to the restroom the day before and would soon join her. I fake a pitiful smile and yet hope that he does.
Until a woman dressed in white yells my name and I clutch my empty hand.
He crawls on the floor.
Laying in bed I have a peripheral view.
He stands up and bumps with tables and chairs
and anything that is on his way.
Holding onto the wall, silly and tall,
He helps himself to walk!
His amorphous body reaching out for me.
I pretend I am asleep.
My soul young, bitter, and frustrated.
My body tired and in denial refuses to help.
Yet my ghostly and slender self surrenders and goes to him.
It always does.
A part of me feels satisfied that the
Beloved wanderer has finally arrived.
I help him crawl to bed. I take of his shoes and then..
He drools on my shirt.
I feel so disgusted!
For he is not my child
He is my drunken husband.
Exhausted, Celia laid in bed.
Staring at a cockroach trapped on a spider web.
She laid in bed, motionless.
Thinking of what she had done two minutes ago.
In a matter of seconds she had chocked and mutilated him.
She had cut his hands, cut his throat and his manly *****.
In her mind he kept insulting and belittling her,
but she had been stronger.
She had defended herself.
He could no longer take advantage of her.
Celia saw how the cockroach gasped for her last breath
while the spider started to rip her apart starting with her heart.
But as always when the sun peeked through the window,
Celia saw him there,
sleeping beside her.
A dormant lion, who would soon come for his prey.
During daylight the bed seems humongous to the twin’s eyes.
Yet at night it seems to shrink to the sweaty bodies lying in it.
The youngest, Eugene and I,
Keep pinching the larger bodies of our older brothers
in search for space, individuality, air, and life.
We have become a red rose’s thorns.
Vulnerable to the stone-like bodies of Francis, Louis, and Joe.
They will not wake until it is too late.
Tomorrow they will walk under the sad sun,
Silent and solemn.
The smoke traveled through my throat all the way to my lungs.
With cloudy thoughts and smelly clothes
I sat on the back row.
Teachers and classmates wonder alike.
I wish I could push the smell inside my Hello Kitty backpack
But I cannot, so instead, I pull myself aside.
I keep telling mommy to quit.
But does she listen? I wish she did.
A couple of years later I discovered a marvelous thing!
Although I had promised myself I would never touch a cigarette, I do.
It happened in the backyard where my volleyball fell.
I simply bent down and picked up a cigarette **** instead.
The skinny, now small cigarette- still blushing with mom’s lipstick.
I put it in my mouth, automatically.
Just how I’ve seen her do it millions of times.
I inhale and exhale my worries away and become my mom.
Next thing I know, the stench disappears
and it’s me who blows little puffy clouds
into my daughter’s mouth and lungs.
I pass the sickness on.
Later on we go visit Doctor Nguyen.
As we step inside, I can smell the infected air of the hospital’s hall.
And I know.
I know what the doctor will say.
While I see myself on my daughter’s head
I can hardly breathe.
I am choking with the smell of smoke,
The smell of sadness,
The smell of tears and of cancer.
— The End —