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Vanilla Tea

By: Laura-Alexia Linares


I sit proper as Mama is telling me to,

As my grandmother pours us the tea.

The women in all of their beautiful dresses

But oh- how mine is hurting me!


I reach for my waist to pull out what’s digging

From my undergarment into my skin…

But alas, I am stopped right there in my tracks

As Mama gives me a look, and raises her chin. 


Her eyes glance down and her eyes pierce mine,

And immediately my hand is returned

To rest upon my other, covered also in lace

Because beauty and pain is what I must endure. 


Barrettes in my hair are scalping me, surely,

But the other girls don’t seem to mind.

Perhaps they are used to it, perhaps it doesn’t hurt,

And perhaps I’m the only one who knows how to whine.


I sip from the china and I leave a pink stain

From my lips, and I swallow the tea.

I turn it away from Mama’s view and I realize

That my taste buds are rather displeased. 


I am excused as I get to greet the incoming members

Of the family who were running just a little bit late.

But I lied, I did not go; I went to the garden

And I was sure to bring my teacup upon the saucer plate. 


I look around quietly, and walk behind the house,

The only sound coming from my heels to the cement.

Gently and gently: tap, click, tap,

And I tip that cup over the flower bed.


My heart in my throat as I look up and see

A little girl staring quietly from across.

“Why are you feeding the flowers your tea?!”

She asked, with her little arms crossed. 


I took us to the bathroom and took down my hair;

My head tingles from the sudden relief.

“This is what you do, only when you feel like it,”

I massaged my head as she intently watched me.


To my horror, she followed along after that,

And she began to pull out the braids of her bun.

“What are you doing?? Your mama will kill me!”

My eyes wide as I watched her hair fall undone.


She giggled and laughed as I tried holding her hair together,

And the other girls who saw had followed along. 

A festivity in the back where the girls throw their heels off

And do everything imaginable that you would consider wrong. 


I led the girls out, and I watched the horror

That washed over all the women’s faces,

That all of their little girls had done such a thing,

Being themselves, and that real ladies had replaced them.