dear second mother

Google Translate ‘yaya’ from Filipino to English:

governess, nurse, maid (show less translations)

i cannot remember the first day i met you,

the same way one cannot remember how

they have met their own parents.

however, i do remember that you always woke

thirty minutes before i did, an hour before my

own mother - to cook me warm oatmeal.

(my mother says it’s good for the heart, but you

are the one who cooked it.)

i remember you that you know that i like tofu

and spam and my sinigang a bit more sour

(extra tamarind was they key to my heart).

i remember you bringing me to the bakery

across the street, for a merienda break.

the one filled with the pastries that i love,

that for some reason, i can no longer find.

i remember how you washed our clothes, no gloves

to protect you from the clorox,

scrubbing and


until your own hands were

calloused as the bark

of the chico tree in the backyard

and as white as the rice

you served

on our plates.

dear second mother, one day, i will envelop

your broken hands in my own, in hope that

i can show you what the words ‘mahal kita’

mean, the same way you did to me.

Mahal: (n) love / Kita: (n) me to you


This poem is about: 
My family
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 


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