When I left you, I had a wounded smile,
Yesterday was gloomy and tomorrow is unclear
But I need to risk
Even your simple kisses and embraces.
Lucid in my memory
The creases deepening in father's forehead,
The tears welling in mother's eyes,
Hidden only in the clutch of the palm
And a pressed flower which has outlived its fragrance.
The requests and calls trail
The distancing footsteps of their oldest child.
I left with webs of fear
Escorted by poverty and a nameless weariness.
The pain penetrates my mask of courage
But I need to be freed from the shackles of debt.
I left, incited by a dream
The return to joy, the relief from poverty,
An infuriating insult to the galunggong and rice
And a fortuitous meryenda with kamote and bananas.
I also wished to be the housewife
Of a handsome and respected gentleman,
To bathe in perfume on Saturday and Sunday
And aimlessly stroll in the park.
So I embarked and here I arrived,
Now I mend my burnt wings.
To my foreign employer I surrendered my humanity
Completely yielded all my grief.
I have also experienced true hardship
In a twenty story building.
Maid, babysitter, cook and laundry woman
I have already occupied all these positions.
Sixteen hours without respite
My whole day's work,
Whose eyes will not fall?
Whose tongue will not flare?
Indeed it is good there is a bit of time to sleep
At the altar of dreams, there is something I can offer.
This is good enough, you tell me,
Even if a slave, there is something I can save.
Here I enclose some money,
Instantly heat into your barren pockets.
Forget for now your craved desires
Quickly smoke the pots and stove.
Meanwhile pray genuinely and sincerely,
I can endure the hardship and bear my sorrow;
I become strong like the city
Before my mind numbs and my heart hardens.