• Marías at Sampaguitas

Poetry by Leila Tualla

Claustrophobia comes at me in moments between

dusk and nightfall. The world closes in, and when the last light goes,

so too, does mine; almost as if the earth turning away from the sun takes

all my energy, all my light, and I become too exhausted

to cry obscenities at the moon. Instead, the world - my world -

gets darker, gets smaller, until the echoes and shadows scream at me.

I cannot hide in the dark. I cannot hide in too small of places.

The moon - in her many shapely forms - smirks each night at my

inability to dance to her push and pull; a rhythm only the waves can hear.

As I lay paralyzed from fear, from pain of my own deconstructed mind,

the first sign of light offers her hope to me.

Only when the world has once again turned - when it once again rights itself -

and I can feel the heat of the sun on my face, do I feel like breathing.

- This is how I’m surviving




Leila Tualla (she/her) is a Filipino-American memoirist, poet, and Christian author. Leila’s books include a YA Christian contemporary romance called, Love, Defined and a memoir/poetry collection called Storm of Hope: God, Preeclampsia, Depression and me. Her poetry is featured in a few mental health anthologies, including "Please hear what I'm not saying," “You are not your r*pe,” and “Persona non grata.” She is currently working on a poetry collection based on Asian American stereotypes and identifies. Leila lives in Houston, Texas with her first generation Mexican American husband and two miracle “Mexipino” babies.

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