Tuesday, May 23, 2017


After Alex Tizon’s article "My Family’s Slave" as regards Eudocia Tomas Pulido 
(The Atlantic, June 2017)


Today I read a dead man's tale about a slave who served his mother 
Was not a line I thought I'd be writing today
And yet I'm not surprised 
Because my people are labor
Labor for their own people
Labor for other people
Labor for everyone but themselves 
My heart breaks at the cruelty of the story
How poverty leads to hope in dismal situations 
Where promises are endlessly broken
And the idea of not being a servant, not serving a family 
Is a foreign concept 
The cruelty of the story feels uncomfortably familiar
The notion that this is normal, acceptable behavior 
Frightens me
Because I know it's true
Because I've seen the cruelty first hand 
Because the woman who raised me 
In her time of struggle and illness
Treated someone my father had hired 
With the same painful behavior 
Written about in this story
Today I read a dead man's tale that could have been my own
Reading reflections of rights denied 
Seething at the intolerable callousness 
Balking at the request for forgiveness 
Wishing the world was not cruel, not impoverished, not desolate
Wondering how the beauty of the written words could match the horrors of this tragic story
Sitting in these feelings 
Whispering 'bahala na' as an ode to a stranger 
Praying for her peace
Praying for forgiveness 
Praying for a speck of healing in a fucked up situation 
May the soul of the faithful departed
Rest In Peace 

Elaine Dolalas is a Historic-Filipinotown, Los Angeles based writer and This Filipino American Life podcaster. Her essays and podcasts can be found on ObliviousNerdGirl.com

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