Somewhere, I read that
scents are attached to memories.
When I think of my childhood
I think only of alcoholic breath
with a hint of cigarettes, not
candy flavored aromas
or chocolate, not
apple cinnamon flapjacks
that could have melted in my mouth.
You were intoxicated, and every time you chose
to touch me you scorched my skin
worse than a second-degree sunburn.
I thought I was a good girl with
good grades. On good days
You made me play
I realize that was never my place.
I was not supposed
to do a wife’s duty at a child’s age.
You placed me on a pedestal
picked my flower petals one by one.
You would blindfold the clock
thinking the tick tock would cease.
Gin made you frisky.
Vodka made you sleep.
Bourbon mellowed you out.
When I saw Tequila
I knew you’d come for me
Especially, if the worm disappeared.
I heard you slur the words
in a whisper,
“Mahal na mahal kita”
I wished my Auntie Carmelita was here to save me.
I know she would have helped me bury you
and then you could fertilize the soil
that grows your tobacco.
But it was time for me to get away,
because even though this part of my childhood was taken
I still had a little left to live.
I’m all grown up.
Have I managed
to get away?
People wonder why I don’t drink.
They always ask.
I just tell them,
somewhere, I read
that scents are attached