He’d always leave at 2:53 P.M.
Swoosh fwoump.

It was only a matter of time,

I wanted to be free.

He’d strap me to a chair and whisper,
sweet stories that you’d coo to a child,

with sour breath running down my neck,
his greasy forehead pressed against my tear-stricken cheeks;
it’d deteriorate and culture in my ears.

His scent engulfed my mind,
my body, my soul…

He made a grave mistake,
dressing me in grimy socks,
making me dance skin-to-skin,
forcing me to kiss him, call him.

Oh no, you see,
he should have known.

I betrayed his trust, I’d pay the price,
“Isn’t that right, Leila?”

That’s not my name.

“Now Leila, darling, you’re going to be a good girl,
for Daddy, aren’t you?”
That’s not my name.

“Leila, sweetheart, I can trust you, can’t I?
Hmm? This will be our little secret,”

That’s not my name.

“Aw, don’t tell me, dear, beautiful Leila,
you aren’t scared, are you?”

That’s not my name.

I knew him well,
after a few months,
and his smell was musty,
only when I let it be.

He always liked sweets,
like me.

He was disgusting,
and my wrists ran red with incisions;
he’d lick them clean.

He’d always leave at 2:53.

“Oh Leila, sweetheart, I expect dinner when I get back,
won’t you be a good girl,
and do as Daddy taught you?”

That’s not my name.

So I did.

This kitchen was charming,
as much as his worn dining ware,
lined with cracked roses painted by Chinese overseas,
wondering when they would be used.

This was the first time I’d seen him genuinely smile,
“You look especially beautiful, tonight, Leila,
perhaps it’s the sparkle in your eye,”

That’s not my name.

He took a sip.

His glossy eyes hovered above his glass,
and his gaze drifted over to me,
in my grimy socks and brown-stained apron,
my long, dark hair drapped over my shoulders.

Another glass,
another glass,
another glass,
sugary sweet,
down his lips,

He liked sweets,
dripping, sipping,
sugary sweet, nectar,
cool, smooth,

He’d always leave at 2:53.


2:53 P.M.

Silence at 2:00-

I’d heard him cry,
“Leila, Leila, Leila,”
That’s not my name.

He’d always leave at 2:53,
He would never leave at 2:53,
2:53 P.M.

I left at 2:53. Silence.