Dear Father… I am Maria

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I am Maria. It’s dark around me

My hands caress the nook and crag of life

Boiled rice with salty fish is all we eat

Every other day, even twice a week

We live next to the sewers and trash heap

I hear the cat purring and dog lowing

And at times women wailing and screaming

Tiny, thin, I bump into everything

I have a cleft palate above my chin

You can see my yellow, crooked front tooth

An old couple found me crying, and nude

Alone, feasted by ants, by the river

I thank them with all my heart, dear Father

No pen and paper, books of braille to learn

Ma and Pa made me sit next to the church

I heard the clink of coins in front of me

Vendors selling food, the smell of incense

I was told Sundays bring in the money

I sighed, bit my tongue, I am still lucky

One day, Miss Vicky hired me to wash clothes

Live and get fed at her dorm of students

But my wages go back to my parents

Capitan Lobo is a friend, she said

Yet she reeked of him, and her money bled

He was a mean blue man not to mess with

I can feel his eyes roaming my body

Hair on my skin stood when he gets close

One night alone, he got drunk and beat me

I screamed out for help. Please! Anybody?

Dear Father, where were you? I needed you!

I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve been a good girl

He forced himself in me. It was painful

The sharp knife I stabbed him with became dull

Miss Vicky found us. She screamed. And blamed me

She cried over his cold, sweaty body

I did not do it! He started it all!

Then I reckoned, my life’s about to fall

I ran out bloodied, confused, and naked

Laughed, wailed, clawed my way up an overpass

With bitter tears, jumped in front of a bus

All Rights Reserved © joegasparauthor 2023

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